The man who made Andre Previn a London star

The man who made Andre Previn a London star


norman lebrecht

September 08, 2011

The death has been announced of Harold Lawrence, the only American to manage a London orchestra (so far as I’m aware).

He was appointed to the London Symphony Orchestra in 1967, at Neville Marriner’s suggestion, after Ernest Fleishmann departed in a players’ bust-up. He lasted six years in the job, which was good going in those swingdoor days. His main coup was securing Andre Previn as chief conductor, which seemed a trendy thing to do at the time until Andre outstayed his welcome.

Harold went back to the US in 1973 to become manager of the New York Philharmonic for two years, before taking up the same role at Buffalo, where he gave Michael Tilson Thomas his breakthrough as principal conductor.

He died in Oakland on August 22, aged 88.

Harold (on the right) with Mercury Records chiefs Robert Fine and Wilma Cozart

Harold, between Rubinstein and Previn. Images from


  • Peter says:

    It’s always interesting to read about managers, artists and others from former generations, but I’m really not sure what the purpose of rounding off a short and interesting blog entry with a dig at the New York Phil and the LSO is all about. What purpose does it serve?

    • To get them to show gratitude and respect.

      • Tommy says:

        Norman, your dig at the LSO (who you don’t actually mention in the second paragraph, so it doesn’t read correctly!) and the NYP is a little unfair, don’t you think? Aren’t they, like you, reliant on someone telling them the news? Isn’t it remotely possible that no-one did? After all, you’ve only got around to mentioning it 3 weeks after his death.

        • Tommy, the news has been out online for three weeks and in a couple of days back, where I picked it up. I expected them to do the right thing. when they didn’t, I pointed it out.