Sir Thomas Beecham

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Beecham, Sir Thomas

(bē`chəm), 1879–1961, English conductor. Beecham was educated at Oxford but did not attend any formal music school. Early in his career as a conductor and producer, he introduced his fellow countrymen to the operas of Richard Strauss, many Russian operas, and the Russian ballet. In 1932 he organized the London Philharmonic Orchestra, forging it into one of the world's finest orchestras, and in 1932 he became artistic director of Covent Garden Opera, London. A frequent conductor of the Hallé Orchestra, Manchester until 1942, he later appeared (1942–43) with the New York Philharmonic and with the Metropolitan Opera, New York. In 1946 he organized the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London.

Beecham wrote a biography (1958) of Delius, whose music he championed; he also excelled at interpreting Mozart, Haydn, Handel, Berlioz, and Sibelius. He was known for his exquisite phrasing, his ability to masterfully unfold a melodic line, his fine sense of proportion, his combination of power and delicacy, and his insight into the unique styles of various composers. For his services to British music, Beecham was knighted in 1916; he also had enormous international influence. His versatility and high standards of excellence are attested to by numerous recordings.


See his autobiography (1944); biography by C. Reid (1961).

References in periodicals archive ?
Jeal rushes through events at breakneck speed, never giving his narrative time to breathe; he reminded me of Sir Thomas Beecham racing through a Beethoven symphony so that he could get to the pub before closing time.
Many years ago in London the great conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, despairing of widespread absences during the rehearsals of a particularly tricky new piece, finally thanked the leading flutist for having been the only one present at every rehearsal.
(1916) London: Six-week opera seasons open at Covent Garden under Sir Thomas Beecham.
Without the timely intervention of Sir Thomas Beecham, for example, Delius's name would probably have been relegated to a footnote of music history.
In later years he wrote that Sir Thomas Beecham's 'influence on English musical life for years was as powerful and refreshing as that of Bernard Shaw in the "nineties"' (246).
For years, admirers of this imperial pageant--a blend of pomp and pastoral and eroticism, with the minidrama of the contested child at its center--have been torn between Sir Thomas Beecham's highhanded recension, which managed to preserve the spirit of Handel's score while outrageously falsifying the letter, and other, more literally faithful yet pallid realizations.
Hearing it in rehearsal in 1931, conductor Sir Thomas Beecham suggested to Walton: "As you'll never hear it again, why not throw in a couple of brass bands?" Walton took this to heart and it was this unusual addition which helped to cement its success over the years.
Jean is embarrassed by her fall from grace to a retirement home named after conductor Sir Thomas Beecham.
Classical Beecham Collection "Live Recordings" Beecham / RPO / BBC SO (SOMM SOMM-BEECHAM 32) Sir Thomas Beecham may now be most fondly remembered as a passionate advocate, and unmatched interpreter, of Delius.
Fifty years after his death, the name Sir Thomas Beecham still looms large on record.
In 1956, however, Marshall made her London debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham performing Mozart's Exsultate, jubilate.
Sir Thomas Beecham, Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Francaise.