A Glyndebourne conductor has died

A Glyndebourne conductor has died


norman lebrecht

July 15, 2014

Sad news from the other side of the world:

Passing of Conductor Myer Fredman.

myer fredman


The ABC has announced the death of conductor Myer Fredman, who passed away on Friday 4th July, 2014 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia aged 82.

Internationally acclaimed in the symphonic and operatic repertoire, Myer Fredman studied at the Dartington College of the Arts before being awarded the Eileen Joyce Scholarship to study in London with Vilem Tausky and Peter Gellhorn and he later for some special lessons with Sir Adrian Boult. In the early years of his career he assisted the emminent conductors Dr. Otto Klemperer, Maestro Vittorio Gui, Sir Charles Mackerras and Sir John Pritchard.

From 1959 to 1974 he worked at the Glyndebourne Festival and from 1961 conducted during every season and was instrumental in creating Glyndebourne Touring Opera (now Glyndebourne on Tour) and appointed its initial Music Director. That same period saw him conducting in many European countries, the United States, Canada and Australia and was awarded a medal ‘Per Servizio della Musica e Cultura Italiana’.

His recordings at that time included works by Robert Still, Arthur Benjamin and Frederick Delius with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and world première recordings of the first two Symphonies by Arnold Bax and two by Havergal Brian with the London Philharmonic orchestra all now re-issued on CD.

Having made his debut with the Australian Opera at the recently opened Sydney Opera House, he was invited to establish a professional opera company in Adelaide which rapidly developed into the State Opera of South Australia. With that company he not only conducted the standard operatic repertoire but also the Australian premières of Tippett’s Midsummer Marriage (in the presence of the composer), and Britten’s Death in Venice at successive Adelaide Festivals.

In 1980 he was appointed Head of the Opera School at the Sydney Conservatorium and conducted frequently for the Australian Opera (now Opera Australia) and later appointed an Artistic Associate. He also conducted the five Australian symphony orchestras in concerts and recordings that included Puccini’s Le Villi (producer John Culshaw), The Apocalypse by Goossens, Job and the Partita for Double String Orchestra by Vaughan Williams. Australian works included The Prima Donna by Arthur Benjamin and world première recordings of Peter Sculthorpe’s Piano Concerto and his television opera, Quiros.
In New Zealand he conducted the NZSO in works by Britten and Delius for Naxos.

He moved to Hobart some years ago and in semi-retirement continued to conduct and teach as Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania’s Conservatorium of Music as well as being involved in creating The Tasmanian Discovery Orchestra.  In 2013 he conducted Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas and Britten’s Phaedra.

He is survived by his wife Jeanne and sons Nicholas and Jonathon.


  • Steven says:

    Thank you for posting this so promptly, Norman.

    I was lucky enough to have worked a lot with Myer in my early days as a horn player. I always enjoyed his conducting and rehearsals as well as his slight eccentricities (like wearing mismatched socks). I was also the recipient of a small scholarship which included taking a number of conducting lessons from him. I will never forget his generosity and patience, not to mention the enthusiastic way he could bang out symphonies on the piano from full scores. I will treasure the scores he gave to me and remember his ever-repeated comment “Steven, when conducting, you must wear your heart on your sleeve”.
    RIP Maestro