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Sir John Barbirolli

Conductor, Cellist


Sir John Barbirolli


Sir John Barbirolli studied cello at Trinity College of Music, now Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance until 1911. In 1916 he became the youngest member of Henry Wood’s Queen’s Hall Orchestra, and in 1917 gave his first solo cello recital in London. He continued to play cello in the London Symphony Orchestra and in Beecham’s Covent Garden Orchestra, as well as in dance-halls and cinemas. In 1926 John was invited by the artistic director of the British National Opera Company to conduct one of its tours, and he made his operatic conducting debut in 1926. He went on to conducted many orchestras including; the Covent Garden Opera Company, the Scottish Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Society and the New York Philharmonic where he stayed for seven seasons. Sir John moved to the Hallé orchestra in 1943 which he saved from dissolution and transformed into a major orchestra. He stayed there for the remainder of his life.