Valerie Pitts

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Valerie Pitts, Lady Solti (born 19 August 1937)[1] was one of the BBC's original team of television presenters during the 1950s. She left the programme in 1960 to marry James Sargent who was stage manager of the Sadler's Wells Opera Company.[2] She also worked at Granada Television. She is the widow of Sir Georg Solti.

Life and career[edit]

She met Solti in September 1964 when she interviewed him, fortuitously, as a last minute alternative to replace a missing news item.[3] Solti pursued her romantically and finally persuaded her to leave her husband.[4][5] They married in 1967, and had two daughters, Gabrielle and Claudia. She appeared on children's television, as a presenter of Play School and then at Granada a series for older children, ExtraOrdinary, which involved strange-but-true stories from science and the arts. She gave up her career as a presenter, though she continued to appear occasionally on television (notably on the quiz show, Face The Music) and worked with Solti for various charities.

Pitts is the patroness of the World Orchestra for Peace, which her husband founded and whose first concert at the United Nations he conducted. In addition, she has devoted time to other cultural organizations, including the Sadler’s Wells Theatre Trust, the Mariinsky Theatre Trust, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Musica Nel Chiostro, Battignano Italy, the Hungarian Cultural Centre (London), Liszt Academy (Budapest), and the W11 Opera children's opera company in London.

After Solti's death on 5 September 1997, Pitts and her two daughters began The Solti Foundation to assist young musicians. In 2002, a website dedicated to Georg Solti was launched, under the instigation of Lady Solti.[6]

See also[edit]


Unpublished sound recordings (C1227) at the British National Archives[7]


  1. ^ "Birthdays". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media. 19 Aug 2014. p. 33. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. ^ Pitts at the TV Announcer's website, includes image Archived 2012-07-17 at
  3. ^ Georg Solti: the making of a musical colossus
  4. ^ Robinson, p. 38
  5. ^ Solti, p. 137
  6. ^ Martin Cullingford, "New Solti website explores conductor's craft". Gramophone, 18 October 2002.
  7. ^ "The National Archives | Search other Archives | Accessions to Repositories | Major Accessions to British Library, Sound Archive, 2006". Retrieved 2017-06-01.


  • Robinson, Paul (1979). Solti. London: Macdonald and Jane's. ISBN 978-0354042888.
  • Solti, Georg; Harvey Sachs (1997). Solti on Solti. London: Chatto and Windus. ISBN 978-0701166304.

External links[edit]