Lawrance Collingwood

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Lawrance Arthur Collingwood CBE (14 March 1887 – 19 December 1982) was an English conductor, composer and record producer.


Collingwood was born in London and began his musical career as a choirboy at Westminster Abbey. Around 1903 he attended High Wycombe Royal Grammar School.[1] He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Exeter College, Oxford (1907–1911).[2] He went to Russia as a young man, took courses at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Alexander Glazunov, Wihtol, Maximilian Steinberg and Nikolai Tcherepnin,[2] and worked for some years as assistant conductor to Albert Coates at the Saint Petersburg Opera. He also conducted at the Mariinsky Theatre.[3] His two piano sonatas, which show the influence of Alexander Scriabin, were published there.

He returned to England after the Russian Revolution, then served as interpreter for Winston Churchill's expedition in support of White Russian forces in Northern Russia (1918–1919).[4] Back in England, he made his mark initially as a composer: his Symphonic Poem was presented by the Royal College of Music and published. He conducted opera at the Old Vic and Sadler's Wells Theatre, becoming principal conductor at Sadler's Wells.[5] His steady hand did much to establish Sadler's Wells as a viable alternative to Covent Garden.[6] He gave early British performances of operas by Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.[3] His own first opera, Macbeth, was presented there under his own direction on 12 April 1934, with Joan Cross singing Lady Macbeth.[7] (Music from the opera had been previously played in the Queen's Hall on 10 November 1927.)

In January 1934, he conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in a recording of the Triumphal March from Caractacus and the Woodland Interlude by Sir Edward Elgar, supervised by the composer himself by telephone from his sickbed before his death a month later.[8]

Collingwood retired from Sadler's Wells in 1946. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1948.[2]

His second opera, The Death of Tintagiles, set to Alfred Sutro's translation of Maurice Maeterlinck's drama, was premiered on 16 April 1950. His other compositions include a piano concerto and a piano quartet.[2]

Lawrance Collingwood brought many foreign operas to the British stage for the first time.[9] His premieres as a conductor included:

Nikolai Medtner dedicated his song The Raven to Lawrance Collingwood.

Collingwood died in Killin, Perthshire, Scotland on 19 December 1982, aged 95.[2]

Record producer[edit]

Collingwood also worked as a record producer from the days of Fred Gaisberg, and was later a colleague of Walter Legge. He was EMI's producer of Sir Thomas Beecham's recordings of the music of Frederick Delius from 1946 onwards. He also produced recordings conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan, including Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's recording of Gustav Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (under Furtwängler), Kindertotenlieder and songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. He produced Vittorio Gui's recording of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.[13][14][15][16]


He recorded for HMV from 1922 until 1971.[6] His recordings include:


  1. ^ 'The Wycombiensian', September 1957, page 360 - the school magazine of the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe: "D.J. Watson (1903-09)... wondered whether he was the Lance Collingwood who was at the R.G.S. when Watson entered in 1903. It was the same person... L.A. Collingwood, a Westminster Abbey choirboy, was sent to the school by Sir Frederick Bridge, the Abbey organist and a brother-in-law of Mr. G.J. Peachell, then headmaster of the school." Lance was perhaps his school nickname.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Bach Cantatas". Bach Cantatas. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Music Encyclopedia. The Concise Grove Dictionary of Music. Copyright 1994 by Oxford University Press, Inc". 19 December 1982. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Rob Wilton Theatricalia". 16 January 1931. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "All Music Guide to Classical Music, edited by Chris Woodstra, Gerald Brennan and Allen Schrott, produced by All Media Guide, LLC, and published by Backbeat Books". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Britten-Pears Library: Joan Cross Papers". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Jerrold Northrop Moore Edward Elgar: A Creative Life: pp. 821-22
  9. ^ "Central Opera Service Bulletin" (PDF). Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Prokofiev's Recording of his Third Piano Concerto". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  11. ^ Grove's Dictionary, 5th ed.: Boris Godunov
  12. ^ "Rob Wilton Theatricalia". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  13. ^ Elgar: D. Other Orchestral Works and Theater Music[dead link]
  14. ^ "Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Lyndon Jenkins, While Spring and Summer Sang. Google Books. 30 December 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "High Beam Encyclopedia". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  17. ^ "crotchet". crotchet. 23 February 2004. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  18. ^ "Enrico Caruso: Electrical Recreations". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  19. ^ Very Best of Singers: Beniamino Gigli[dead link]
  20. ^ "Feodor Chaliapin: A Vocal Portrait". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  21. ^ "Lawrance Collingwood Discography". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  22. ^ "Songs From the Emerald Isle". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Barnes & Noble". 13 February 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ "The History of Music in Sound, Vol. IX". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  27. ^ Jean Collen, Sweethearts of Song. Google Books. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  28. ^ "Bach cantatas". Bach cantatas. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  29. ^ "". 9 September 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  30. ^ "aprrecords". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  31. ^ "". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  32. ^ "Naxos Music Library". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  33. ^ "Ernő Dohnány 125th Anniversary Commemorative Exhibit 2002". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 


Cultural offices
Preceded by
Charles Corri
Music Director, Sadler's Wells
Succeeded by
James Robertson