Lawrence Leonard

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Lawrence Leonard (August 22, 1923 – January 4, 2001[1][2][3]) was a British conductor, cellist, composer, teacher, and writer.

Early life and education[edit]

Leonard received his musical education at the Royal Academy of Music and the École Normale de Musique de Paris.[4]

Career[edit]

His musical career began at age 16, as an orchestral cellist with the London Symphony Orchestra, playing under such conductors as Sir Henry Wood, Richard Strauss, and Leopold Stokowski.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Leonard, a close friend of cartoonist Gerard Hoffnung's, participated both as conductor and composer, in the celebrated Hoffnung concerts.

In 1959, at Leonard Bernstein's request, Leonard conducted the London premiere of West Side Story.

Leonard was Associate Conductor of the BBC Northern Orchestra and Assistant Conductor to Sir John Barbirolli at the Hallé Orchestra (1963-1968). In 1964, Leonard conducted the world premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti's chamber opera Martin's Lie, at the Bath International Music Festival.

Frmo 1968-1973, Leonard was Music Director of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, where two of his orchestral compositions were premiered (an adaptation of Machaut's Grande Messe de Notre Dame in 1972 and Group Questions for Orchestra in 1973).[5] In 1971, he conducted the Edmonton Symphony in a concert featuring the British rock band Procol Harum, which was recorded and released commercially as Procol Harum Live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, although due to an apparent distaste for rock music, from the start of the project Leonard disowned any association with the performance and went so far as to refuse to have his name listed in the credits. The concert and resulting recording went on to become the most successful live pairing of symphony orchestra and rock music to date and a worldwide best-seller, and even spawned a hit single, "Conquistador".[6]

In 1977, he arranged Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition for piano and orchestra.

In later years, he was Professor of Conducting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama[when?] and Morley College,[when?] and regularly conducted the Royal Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra.[when?][citation needed]

Original orchestral compositions[edit]

In addition to the aforementioned adaptation of Machaut's Grande Messe de Notre Dame (1972) and Group Questions for Orchestra (1973), Leonard's original orchestral compositions include: Four Pieces, Four Contrasts, Break, Processional, A Short Overture, A Swinging Tune, and the symphonic poem Mezoon (written for the Sultan of Oman).[7]

Books[edit]

Leonard wrote The Horn of Mortal Danger (1980), a children's adventure tale set in a secret civilisation underneath London. It was a 'completely new departure' from anything he had done before.[8]

He also authored the irreverent yet insightful book 1812 and All That: A Concise History of Music from 30,000BC to the Millennium.[9]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Brian Priestman
Music Directors, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
1968–1973
Succeeded by
Pierre Hétu

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lawrence Leonard obituary". Music and Vision. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  2. ^ "Lawrence Leonard". International Who's who in Music and Musicians' Directory. 2000.  Indicates b. 22 Aug.1923
  3. ^ Dates given on the Slatkin recording b.1926 (sic) – d. 1991(sic)
  4. ^ "Lawrence Leonard obituary". Music and Vision. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  5. ^ Baker, D.T. "Edmonton Symphony History". Edmonton Symphony Orchestra website. 
  6. ^ Baker, D.T. "Edmonton Symphony History". Edmonton Symphony Orchestra website. 
  7. ^ Baker, D.T. "Edmonton Symphony History". Edmonton Symphony Orchestra website. 
  8. ^ Leonard, Lawrence (1980). The Horn of Mortal Danger. Cox and Wyman Ltd. ISBN 0-7445-0847-9. 
  9. ^ Leonard, Lawrence (October 7, 2000). 1812 and All That: A Concise History of Music from 30,000 BC to the Millennium. Sound And Vision. ISBN 978-0920151334. 

Additional reading[edit]