Early music leader has died, at 94

Early music leader has died, at 94


norman lebrecht

March 02, 2015

Denys Darlow, an influential teacher and conductor of historically informed performance, has passed away.
Founder of the Tilford Bach Festival in the early 50s and later the London Handel Festival, Denys worked with many of Britain’s finest baroque musicians and singers, most notably in rarely performed Handel.

James Rutherford writes:

While making my first tentative steps in the business I had the chance to sing alongside Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, Stephen Varcoe and Charles Daniels under Denys’ direction – a vocal masterclass in style and technique. Denys was a huge supporter of young talent as conductor, teacher and choirmaster. Perhaps this was most evident in his many years as conductor of Handel Opera at the Royal College and Royal Academy.

Denys was a man of strong faith and perhaps my most treasured memory of our work together was the Good Friday St. Matthew Passion at St. George’s Hanover Square (where Denys was also organist for many years). This was not a performance but an act of worship, sung in English in Denys’ own translation with a sermon before Part 2 and the audience/congregation would also sing the hymns when appropriate. What endeared me to Denys’ idea of ‘historically informed performance’ was not just the recreation of how the music was played but more importantly why.


  • Justin Pearson says:

    Denys served as a Governor and Chairman of the Royal Society of Musicians, Britain’s oldest musical charity, run by musicians for musicians. His chairmanship coincided with a period of internal debate which he handled with sensitivity and evenhandedness. Many warm tributes were given to him yesterday at a Meeting of the Society.

  • Eifiki Robertson says:

    I consider myself a really enthusiastic music fan and to be hones the changes with the british actors and how the BRITS has come to the attention to the world there has been more and more of it. And even thou there is more and more singer song writers I really think that there will be an explosion soon.

    Hope It doesn come to that but even SJK Music and http://betterdazemusic.com/music sense it.