Sir Thomas Beecham, 2nd Bt(1879-1961), Conductor
Sitter in 24 portraits
Beecham was one of Britain's most influential conductors. Grandson of the patentee of the medical remedy Beecham's Pills, his conducting debut was in 1902 at the Shakespeare Theatre, Clapham. After founding the Beecham Symphony Orchestra in 1909, performances with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes followed in 1911-12. During the 1920s, he was principally associated with the London Symphony Orchestra, and in the 1930s was artistic director of the opera seasons at Covent Garden. He founded the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1932, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1946. In the 1950s Beecham undertook extensive international tours. His final performance was at Portsmouth Guildhall in May 1960.