A conductor obsessed by obscuritymain
Bryan Fairfax, whose death has just been announced, gave the UK premieres of the third symphonies of Gustav Mahler and Dmitri Shostakovich at a time when the works were considered box-office poison. Bryan performed the Mahler with a pro-am orchestra, the Polyphonia, in St Pancras Town Hall in February 1961 (the professional premiere was given by Berthold Goldschmidt that year for the BBC).
A few months later, Bryan gave the world premiere of Havergal Brian’s Gothic Symphony.
Other major works he introduced to Britain were by Nielsen, Percy Grainger and Franz Schmidt.
Australian by birth, Bryan never held office with a UK orchestra. He died on Thursday, aged 83.