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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » G » Goossens, Eugene



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Eugene Goossens (5/26/1893 - 6/13/1962)

Both Goossens’s father and grandfather were conductors, his mother was a singer and his brother Leon and his two sisters were all outstanding musicians. When he was ten Eugene entered the Bruges Conservatory; from 1904 to 1906 he was a student at the Liverpool College of Music; and from 1907 to 1912 he studied at the Royal College of Music, where he was a pupil of Stanford. Here he conducted the college orchestra in his first major composition, Chinese Variations, which Sir Henry Wood subsequently invited him to conduct at a Promenade Concert in 1913. Between 1912 and 1915 Goossens was active as a violinist, being a member of the Philharmonic String Quartet and of the Queen’s Hall Orchestra. In 1915 he was taken on as an assistant by Sir Tomas Beecham, after which he devoted himself fully to conducting and also to composition. His conducting of his teacher Stanford’s opera The Critic was well received in 1916, and he went on to conduct provincial orchestras as well as the Leeds Orchestral Concerts. He founded his own orchestra in 1921, and at its first concert conducted the first British concert performance of The Rite of Spring in the presence of its composer Stravinsky. As a result he was invited to conduct Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, the British National and Carl Rosa Opera Companies and many English and continental orchestras.

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