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Mark Elder (b1947)

Mark Elder was a boy chorister at Canterbury Cathedral before studying at Bryanston School, where he learnt to play the bassoon. As a member of the National Youth Orchestra he played under Pierre Boulez, a formative influence; and gained his first experiences of conducting while an undergraduate reading music at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. After graduating he worked as a répétiteur in 1969 for the Wexford Festival, before swiftly moving on to the posts of chorusmaster for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and répétiteur at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he worked with Georg Solti and Edward Downes, amongst many others. Downes invited him to join Australian Opera as staff conductor for two years, 1972–1974, after which Elder returned to London to join the English National Opera in a similar position. After three years he was appointed an associate conductor of the company, before becoming its chief conductor in 1979, a post he held until 1993. Elder’s fourteen years at ENO became known as the ‘powerhouse’ period, during which he shared the artistic direction of the company with the producer David Pountney and the administrator Peter Jonas. Among the thirty new productions which he conducted with the company were Hans Werner Henze’s The Bassarids (1975), David Blake’s Toussaint (1977), Dvořák’s Rusalka (1982) and Busoni’s Doktor Faust (1986). In addition he conducted the full range of the traditional operatic repertoire



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