The Brit who put Vancouver on the musical map

A lovely valedictory summary after 18 years as music director.

Today’s Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is in large measure (Bramwell) Tovey’s creation, having brought in more than half the players and significantly raised performance standards, as anyone could testify who attended this year’s recently concluded Spring Festival…. 

He arrived initially to conduct local Canadian orchestras on a 1983 tour of England’s Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and wound up being invited back by all of them.

Then came some lunchtime advice from a leading London manager to the young conductor that he should go somewhere and develop his repertoire “out of harm’s way.’’

Read on here.


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  • The article mentions conductors with long tenures with the same orchestra but omits Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony since 1995.

  • I heard Tovey’s debut with the VSO back in 1998 – Bruckner 8- and it was sensational. I’m sure many terrific things happened during his tenure – and he is without question a great communicator – but it was already a terrific orchestra under his predecessor, the late, great Sergiu Commissiona, whose tenure might not have been as long but produced a lot of great music making.

  • The Brit who put Vancouver on the musical map was Meredith Davies.

    A musician of incomparable taste and talent.

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