Conductor Sir Charles Mackerras dead at 84

Posted on: July 15, 2010

In Thursday’s (7/15) Guardian (London), Matthew Weaver reports that conductor Sir Charles Mackerras “has died in London at the age of 84. He had cancer but was due to conduct two concerts at the Albert Hall at the end of this month as part of the BBC proms which start tomorrow.” Mackerras “conducted some of the world’s leading orchestras and was the former director of music at English National Opera.” Born to Australian parents in Schenectady, New York, he “grew up in Australia but spent much of his working life in Britain after emigrating here in 1947.” Following studies in oboe and piano at New South Wales Conservatorium he “went on to study in Prague and was an authority on both Czech music, particularly Janácek, and Mozart. But he was also known for the breadth of his repertoire.” Mackerras “had a long association with the Sydney Symphony where he was principal oboist in 1946. He became its chief conductor and led the orchestra on the opening night of the Sydney Opera House in 1973.” He conducted more than 30 operas at the Royal Opera House, “made frequent appearances at the San Francisco Opera, and was also associated with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.”  He was knighted in 1980.

Posted July 15, 2010

Photo of Charles Mackerras by Z. Chrapek