Adrian Boult fades to black

Adrian Boult fades to black


norman lebrecht

March 31, 2016

The name of a fine conductor, founder of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, will disappear from the landscape when the Birmingham Conservatory building gets knocked down this summer.

Shame. You’d have thought the BBC might name something after him.

Press release below.


photo (c) Geoffrey Macdominic/LebrechtMA

press release:

After 30 years of offering live classical, jazz and experimental music performances, Birmingham Conservatoire’s Adrian Boult Hall will hear its last note on Sunday 26 June – but not before it is celebrated in style as part of a two-month long music festival.  

Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, has today (Friday 1 April) announced ‘City of Sounds – Saying Goodbye to Birmingham Conservatoire’s Adrian Boult Hall’, in conjunction with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. The festival will mark the Hall’s closure, but also look ahead to its new £56 million home in the Eastside region of the City, currently under construction and due to open in 2017.



  • Dave says:

    They could start by campaigning for the reinstatement of his knighthood.

    Trouble is the BBC “management” are mostly busy working (ahem!) on their own knighthoods.

  • Edward Smith says:

    Some anecdotes –
    The Adrian Boult Hall was designed to be both a rehearsal hall for the CBSO and concert hall for the Conservatoire. The CBSO had its offices in the building from 1985 until the purpose-built CBSO Centre was built in 1998. Sir Adrian had been one of the orchestra’s earliest Music Directors (1924-1930) and I wrote to him in 1983 seeking permission to use his name for the new hall. His famously protective Secretary, Mrs. Beckett wrote back thanking me with the message that “Sir Adrian will see your letter very soon”. Sadly, he died shortly after and never did! Consequently his “permission” was never actually given – but we went ahead anyway. I think he would have approved.

    Incidentally during the construction of the building it was referred to as the “Adrian Boult Complex” – I don’t think he would have approved of that!
    Edward Smith

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Some day, Ed, I’ll tell you how the world learned of Sir Adrian’s death.

      • Peter Phillips says:

        Could you tell the rest of us, Norman? I’ve read Charles Reid’s bio and Boult’s “Blowing my own trumpet” so I’d be interested in what you might have to say. A great, great conductor.

  • Halldor says:

    I’ve heard the (as yet incomplete) concert hall at the Conservatoire’s brand new Eastside building informally referred to on a number of occasions as the “New Adrian Boult Hall”. No idea if this is official or not but it’d be nice to think so.

    As Ed will confirm, Sir Adrian also served as the CBSO’s chief conductor in 1959-1960 (after the unexpected departure of Andrzej Panufnik). Are there any other instances of a conductor serving two separate terms as MD of the same orchestra?

    • Stephen Cera says:

      Yes … two early conductors of the Boston Symphony:
      Wilhelm Gericke 1884-89 and 1898-1906
      Karl Muck 1906-08 and 1912-18

      More recently, Jorge Mester served as Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra from 1967-79 and again 2006 to 2014.

  • Tim Walton says:

    At least the BBC are broadcasting the final concert on June 26th on Radio 3!