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Thomas Beecham (1879 - 1961)

The English conductor Sir Thomas Beecham was born into a wealthy family which had made its fortune through the manufacture and sale of proprietary medicines, yet by the time he was thirty he had established himself as Britain’s finest conductor, without any financial support from his father. He attended his first concert when he was six, and commenced piano lessons shortly afterwards. Educated at Rossall School where he was the only pupil to be allowed a piano in his room, he went on to Wadham College at Oxford, but did not stay to take a degree. In 1899, having formed an amateur orchestra in his home town of St Helens, he substituted for Hans Richter as the conductor of the Hallé Orchestra, which had been engaged to give a concert to mark Beecham’s father’s assumption of the position of mayor of the town of St Helens.



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