Anthony Inglis (conductor)

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Anthony Inglis conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the 2005 Melbourne Classical Spectacular event
Inglis taking a bow.

Anthony Inglis (born 27 June 1952)[1] is a British conductor.

Early years[edit]

Anthony Inglis was born Anthony Inglis Howard-Williams and had to change his name when he and the slightly older conductor Howard Williams (no hyphen) were both conducting Swan lake for The Royal Ballet at the same time.

He was born into an RAF family and he can number a great many past serving officers amongst his immediate ancestry. His father was Squadron-Leader Jeremy Howard-Williams DFC, who was a night fighter pilot during World War II before joining Fighter Interception Unit. He has written a moving book on the subject called "Night Intruder".[2] His paternal grandfather, Air Commodore E.L.Howard-Williams was a major in the army, before joining the fledgling Royal Flying Corps, the percursor to the RAF. His uncle, Wing Commander Peter Howard-Williams DFC was in 19 Squadron flying out of Duxford during 1940 and flew in The Battle of Britain, and therefore was one of The Few.

His maternal grandfather was Air Vice-Marshal F.F.Inglis CB. CBE. and head of RAF Intelligence during WW2 and on Adolf Hitler's hit list for after the war should Germany have won! He was sent to America by Winston Churchill where he successfully persuaded President Franklin D. Roosevelt to direct the American war against Germany rather than Japan.[3][4]

Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard, a Great-Uncle by marriage, was said by some to be the person who suggested to Winston Churchill the idea of sending the little ships over to Dunkirk to pick up the remnants of the British Army. Air-Commodore Peter Helmore (son of Air Commodore William Helmore) was an uncle by marriage. Amongst his non-RAF ancestry, there is his great-uncle Lt John Inglis who lost his life at The Battle of Loos, Vermilles and Hill 70 in 1915. Anthony is directly descended from the great engineer Robert Napier, he of the Napier-Railton cars and the man to whom Samuel Cunard turned, to install engines into his first ships such as the Britannia-class steamships. Quite a fitting coincidence now he has such a close tie with Cunard. Also, he is directly descended from Col Sir John Inglis who commanded the garrison during the Siege of Lucknow in 1857 and General Sir Charles James Napier, famous for conquering the Sindh Province in present-day Pakistan. The statue in the lower left hand corner of Trafalgar Square London is of him. He continues the association with the name Napier as he has given his son Alexander, Napier as his middle name.


He was first educated at Freston Lodge School in Sevenoaks, where at the age of 6 he first conducted. This formed his life's ambition to be a conductor. On leaving Freston Lodge he boarded at Hordle House on the south coast of England at a little village called Milford-on-Sea. On leaving there he gained a scholarship to Marlborough College in Wiltshire. Academically, he was not gifted and he left before failing his A Levels (having achieved the heady heights of passing 4 O Levels including music) and entered The Royal College of Music at an early age. In fact there is a fairly reported story of he and his 2-year-younger brother swapping places at the end of the week's academic places at Hordle House. A huge roar went up from the assembled school when the places were read out and Howard-Williams minor was ahead of Howard-Williams major. Another story that went round Marlborough very quickly was when he had doubled booked himself for two performances on the same evening. One was as Portia in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the other in a Beethoven piano quartet! However the Beethoven was scheduled for a substantial break in the play when Portia does not appear, so he was able to do both. Unfortunately, there was no time to change and as the play was in modern dress, this must have been an interesting occasion for the audience who came to watch a Beethoven piano quartet in The Adderly at Marlborough College. For there, seated at the piano surrounded by his teachers and visitors all dressed in black tie, was this boy, dressed in a mini-skirt, tights and long blonde hair! This caused a minor sensation at an all-boys school (as Marlborough was then!). He was also at Hordle House when the visiting cricket team made the grand total of 5 all out. This was beaten on the first ball of the Hordle House 1st XI innings when a boy called Best hit a six!

Early career[edit]

On leaving The College, he did a number of music jobs which included being on the music staff for some of Ken Russell's films: Lisztomania and Mahler, plus singing on the cult film The Wicker Man; his is the high tenor heard in the pub scene. He played piano in the West End of London working his way up to being the Music Director for shows such as My Fair Lady with Dame Anna Neagle and Tony Britton directed by the lyricist of the show Alan Jay Lerner; Oliver! with amongst others Ron Moody, the last time he reprised his role; The Two Ronnies with Messrs Barker and Corbett; and Irene with Jon Pertwee. Having conducted a season at The London Palladium he decided he could go no further and left to pursue his original career: that of a classical conductor.


He has now been described in the UK press as “one of Britain’s most popular conductors” (Manchester Evening News) and leads a busy international conducting career, appearing with some of the greatest orchestras in concert halls from Sydney via Tokyo, to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and recording studios around the world. These include the four main London independent orchestras: London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra, all the British independent and most BBC orchestras, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He is currently Music Director of The National Symphony Orchestra in London [1], the Welsh mezzo Katherine Jenkins and is Music Consultant for The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre. For 15 years he was well known in the UK for his conducting of Classical Spectacular, yet in Japan, his series of contemporary anime recordings with the Warsaw Philharmonic regularly featured in the top classical 10. In the world of opera, he has conducted at The Gothenburg Opera House. In ballet he has conducted all three Tchaikovsky ballets for Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, and he has been featured more times at London's Royal Albert Hall than anyone else in the building's history.

Royal connections[edit]

He has conducted six royal concerts: a dance gala with The Royal Ballet Sinfonia in the presence of Diana, Princess of Wales, two concerts with the Royal Philharmonic in the presence of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the naming ceremony for the world's largest liner The Queen Mary 2; and two with the London Philharmonic in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales in aid of Farmers and the Naming Ceremony for Cunard Line's liner the Queen Victoria. The sixth was for the Naming Ceremony of the newest Cunard liner the Queen Elizabeth in the presence of HM The Queen.


His studio, TV and concert recordings have been broadcast in the UK, Australia, Scandinavia, Europe and The Far East. He has made recent DVD recordings with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and two with Katherine Jenkins and the National Symphony plus CD recordings with: London Symphony (1993 Grammy nominated), London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Israel Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic, London Mozart Players, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome), Bournemouth Symphony, Cracow Radio Symphony, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Prague Sinfonia, Netherlands Radio Symphony. In 2005 he conducted the RPO at the largest regular live TV show in Europe called Wetten, dass..?.

Personal life[edit]

Anthony Inglis is married and lives by the River Thames in S.W.London with his wife Jan and three children, Eleanor, Dominic and Alexander. Jan's early career was in theatre performing in the West End, before spending a number of seasons in Stratford and London as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. On starting a family, she retired from the theatre and became a teaching assistant at the local primary school, she is now completing her BA in Education Staudies at Kings College University London. Eleanor is coming to the end of her school life at a girls' school in Coombe and studies the piano, oboe and loves Stagecoach. She has performed with her father at The Barbican Centre and Royal Festival Hall. Dominic, who plays the violin, is in the world-famous Tiffin School Boys Choir and has sung under many famous conductors and orchestras, performing at The Royal Opera House (before his father!!) with Sir Colin Davis. He can be seen on the recent DVD of Hansel and Gretel. he has ambitions to join the RAF and is currently a corporal in the Air Cadets. Alexander has also performed at the Royal Opera House, recently singing the role of Gherardino with Sir Thomas Allen (baritone) in Gianni Schicchi and conducted by Antonio Pappano, and has sung solo treble at the Royal Albert Hall with his father conducting the orchestra. In 2010 he performed a solo at the Naming Ceremony of the new Cunard liner The Queen Elizabeth in front of HM The Queen. He plays the piano and cello.


  1. ^ "Anthony Inglis Howard-Williams". Inglis family tree. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "Jeremy Howard-Williams - Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. September 1995. Retrieved 16 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "Air Vice Marshal F F Inglis". A History of RAF Organisation. 29 September 2007. Retrieved 16 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Goddard, Victor (n.d.). "Frank Inglis obituary". Private letter. Retrieved 16 July 2011. 

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