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Adrian Boult (1889 - 1983)

Adrian Boult was born in the north of England into a mercantile family. He was educated at Westminster School in London, and then at Christ Church, Oxford, receiving a doctorate in music in 1914. Following his time at Oxford, he studied with Max Reger at the Leipzig Conservatory for the academic year 1912–1913, and while in Leipzig was able to observe the charismatic conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Arthur Nikisch, in action.

After returning to England Boult conducted opera at Covent Garden and assisted the conductor Artur Bodansky on a production of Parsifal there in 1914. After working for the War Office during World War I, in 1918 he conducted the first performance of Holst’s The Planets at a private performance at the Queen’s Hall, and also led several concerts for the Royal Philharmonic Society, then one of the major musical organisations in England. The following year he joined the staff of the Royal College of Music where he taught until 1930, and conducted the autumn season of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The early 1920s saw Boult conducting the British National Opera Company in heavyweight repertoire that included Die Walküre, Parsifal and Otello; the British Symphony Orchestra (formed from ex-servicemen), and the London Symphony Orchestra; and in 1923 he directed the first season of Sir Robert Mayer’s children’s concerts.



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