Hugh Maguire (violinist)
Hugh Maguire (2 August 1926 – 14 June 2013) was an Irish violinist, leader, concertmaster and principal player of the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1962-1967), leader of the Melos Ensemble and the Allegri Quartet, a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, and violin tutor to the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
Hugh Maguire was born in Dublin as one of six siblings, all of whom became professional musicians. His first violin lessons were at the age of 6: his early musical training was mostly received from his father, a schoolteacher, who had a remarkable gift for music. By the age of 12 he had won every prize for violin-playing at the principal music festivals in Ireland. Educated at the Belvedere College, in 1944 he gained a four-year scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he won the Alfred Waley and Alfred Gibson Prizes for violin playing, and the Cooper Prize and McEwan Prize for quartet playing. There he led the first orchestra for two years under Clarence Raybould and played concertos at several 'end of term' concerts.
In January 1949 Hugh Maguire was among the first violins of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (led by David Wise) during Eduard van Beinum's conductorship. In 1950 he spent ten months in Paris having lessons from George Enescu (to whom he acknowledged his greatest debt), and appeared as soloist, including a concerto under Roger Désormière. In 1952 he was appointed leader of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (then under Charles Groves), after which he had a short period as sub-leader of the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra.
In 1956 he took over as Leader of the London Symphony Orchestra until 1961, as one of the 'Young Turks' who helped to reshape the orchestra after a confrontation between management and players which had prompted many resignations. In 1959 he became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. At that time he played in a series of LSO recordings conducted by Antal Doráti: a review of Stravinsky ballet music states: "What made the Dorati/LSO collaboration such a matchless historical event of the century was the fact that the London Symphony at that time had assembled the finest musicians of the country as principals - Hugh Maguire (first violin), Neville Marriner (second), Simon Streatfeild (viola), Kenneth Heath (cello), Stuart Knussen (double-bass), Alex Murray (flute), Roger Lord (oboe), Gervase de Peyer (clarinet), William Waterhouse (bassoon), Barry Tuckwell (horn), Alan Stringer (trumpet) and Denis Wick (trombone)."
Through the LSO 1960 and 1961 International Series and Festival Tours, Maguire led the orchestra under Sir Arthur Bliss (President), Pierre Monteux, Zoltán Kodály, Leopold Stokowski, Aaron Copland, Jean Martinon, Colin Davis, Peter Maag, Josef Krips and Antal Dorati, under Georg Solti in Vienna and Benjamin Britten at Aldeburgh. In 1962, having made the pioneer recording of Béatrice et Bénédict with Davis, he handed over leadership of the LSO to Eric Gruenberg and became Leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, until succeeded there by Trevor Williams in 1967. Maguire played the solo violin in a recording of Strauss' Don Quixote, recorded in 1964 in the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Malcolm Sargent. The May 1965 BBCSO tour to USA was joined by Jacqueline du Pré, with whom Maguire played in trio for several months.
Following the foundation of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields by Neville Marriner in 1959, Maguire became closely associated with its work at the solo violin desk. His pre-eminence as a teacher and pedagogue for soloists and chamber music ensemble groups was also then developing, not least through his pupil Iona Brown who afterwards became Director of the Academy of St Martin's. Maguire led the Cremona Quartet with Iona Brown, Cecil Aronowitz and Terence Weil, recording Luigi Boccherini's Quintet for Guitar and Strings with Julian Bream. From 1974 he led the Melos Ensemble, heading that group's renewal after it had been temporarily disbanded following the death of Ivor McMahon. In that capacity he recorded Mozart's flute quartets with Richard Adeney, Cecil Aronowitz and Terence Weil in 1981. His teaching became centred at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies, where as Director of String Studies he drew many distinguished string players to give seminars, including the inspirational series by Norbert Brainin in the sonatas and concerti of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.
He was also the leader of the Allegri Quartet with David Roth, Patrick Ireland and Bruno Schrecker, recording the string quartet no. 2 of Alexander Goehr and the string quartets no. 3 & 4 of Frank Bridge. Sir Malcolm Arnold dedicated his string quartet no. 2 (1975) to him, first performed by the Allegri Quartet in Dublin Castle in June 1976, the British premiere three days later at Snape Maltings, as part of the Aldeburgh Festival. On the occasion of the quartet's 40th birthday, he played the Concerto for piano, violin and quartet by Ernest Chausson with the new formation, with Peggy Gray at the piano.
In 1982 he participated in a recording of the Octet, Op. 67 of Egon Wellesz with the members of the Melos Ensemble Nicholas Ward (violin), Patrick Ireland (viola), Terence Weil (cello), William Waterhouse (bassoon), Peter Graeme (oboe), Thea King (clarinet), and Timothy Brown (horn).
He was professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London and artistic director of the Irish Youth Orchestra, as well as violin tutor to the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He taught master classes at Aldeburgh Music and was on the coaching staff of the ensemble training at the Leiston Abbey music school.
- Norman Lebrecht: London loses a leader of legend 16 June 2013
- This paragraph derived from Concert Programme, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall 18 March 1960, Jean Martinon (cover and 8 pages), page 8.
- Concert Programme, London Philharmonic Orchestra Saturday 29 January 1949, Central Hall, East Ham. His name does not appear in the listings of subsequent programmes.
- Concert Programme, LSO 18 March 1960 (cited above).
- BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts Prospectus, 61st Season 1955, pp. 1, 19.
- Concert Programme, LSO 18 March 1960 (cited above).
- London Symphony Orchestra facts and figures (PDF)
- LSO History of Recordings
- List of Fellows of R.A.M.. Maguire's Fellowship is almost the longest of tenure of all living Fellows.
- The LSO - Dorati combination was recorded by HMV in the series Mercury Records. Dorati also recorded for Philips and Fontana.
- Legendary Russian Ballets, Legendary Performances review of a recording of Stravinsky ballets 1959.
- Royal Festival Hall, Concert Programmes 1960-61.
- London/L'Oiseau-Lyre 2LP SOL 256-57: issued 1963.
- BBC Promenade Concerts, Prospectus 1961-1967 inclusive.
- Richard Strauss Don Quixote review by Jonathan Woolf
- ArchivMusik writeup.
- Inglis, Anne (10 June 2004). "Iona Brown". The Guardian (London).
- Bream - Adagios
- Britten-Pears Foundation - history
- John Owen, 'Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies', International Journal of Music Education, Original Series 3, No. 1, 53-55 (1984).(PDF)
- Complete Index by Catalogue Number of Lyrita
- Chamber Music of Sir Malcolm Arnold 2003
- Allegri Quartet Partners
- Egon Joseph Wellesz Discography
- Alumni - Where are they now? Aldeburgh Music, pictured
- Pro Corda staff 2010