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Warwick Braithwaite

(1896-1971), Conductor

Sitter in 5 portraits

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Roger Flury

05 May 2022, 17:13

Born in 1896, Braithwaite travelled from his hometown, Dunedin, to London in 1916 to study at the Royal Academy of Music. At the time of his professional conducting debut in 1920 with Joseph O'Mara's legendary touring opera company, he was reputedly the youngest conductor in the country. He joined the fledgling BBC in 1922 as music director of the Cardiff radio station, and he went on to be the first conductor of the National Orchestra of Wales. A period with the Vic-Wells in the 1930s was followed by his appointment as musical director of the Scottish Orchestra (1940-1946). Appointments with the ballet and opera companies at Covent Garden followed (1948-1952). He conducted all the major orchestras in Britain, and performed in Germany, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Iceland. He met and worked with some of the major artists of his day, from Elgar, Sibelius, and Vaughan Williams to Nellie Melba, Kathleen Ferrier, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Kirsten Flagstad and Victoria de los Angeles. He made many recordings for HMV, Columbia, Parlophone and Decca. He also left a substantial body of compositions, including an opera, a symphony, songs and orchestral tone poems.

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