Scots mourn influential conductor

Scots mourn influential conductor


norman lebrecht

May 18, 2020

We have received reports of the death of John Currie, at the age of 85.

Chorus master of the Scottish National Orchestra Chorus from 1966, Currie succeeded Arthur Oldham as director of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus. He formed the John Currie Singers and in 1985 became conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale for several years.

His son Justin is a singer and songwriter, co-founder of the band Del Amitri.


  • Bill Mann says:

    RIP my old friend.

  • Una says:

    John was the chorus master of Scottish Opera Chorus when was there but he seemed to have the monopoly over most choral music in Scotland at the time as well as his John Currie Singers for whom I never sang. I decided to leave the chorus after 18 months and go back to England. He then generously gave me quite a bit of well-paid solo work at home and abroad. Will always remember Israel in Egypt in Naples for the RAI with Christine Cairns, Neil Mackie and a bass whose name escapes me. Life moved on. I certainly got on well with him.

  • Nick2 says:

    Following in the steps of Arthur Oldham at the Edinburgh Festival and then Scottish Opera could have been a difficult task. After all, Karajan had called Oldham one of the three finest chorus directors in Europe. But John fitted so well into the role. He was no doubt assisted by his good and long friendship with Sir Alexander Gibson with whom he did some of his best work. But his stature was also very high with other major conductors. I recall especially the superb Verdi Requiem in the Usher Hall with Abbado and the LSO with Jessye Norman taking the mezzo part along with Margaret Price, Jose Carreras and Ruggero Raimondi.

  • Stephen Lipton says:

    RIP John, my inspiration, friend and mentor in my early singing days. JC gave so much to so many and always remained kind, approachable and totally modest.