He is a
conductor born in Fortmell Magna, Dorset, England who start his
life in music when he and his family sung in the choir of his local church.
this by learning to play the violin when he was young and when he was a
teenager he widened his musical interests when he began to take conducting
his studies first at Bryanston School and followed his time there but entering
Kings College, Cambridge where he studied Arabic, medieval
Spanish and history. He was
also involved on the musical side of things there when he toured the Middle East with the Oxford and Cambridge Singers. He took further musical studies at
King’s College, London as well as in Paris with Nadia Boulanger.
mid-1960s he founded the Monteverdi Choir and debuted with them as their
conductor in 1966. Two years
later in 1968 he established the Monteverdi Orchestra and nine years later,
in 1977, he decided to introduce period instruments in place of the modern
ones and renamed them the English Baroque Soloists.
His career as
a conductor went from success to success with his 1969 operatic debut with
the English National Opera for The
Magic Flute which followed four years later with his conducting Iphigenie em Tauride by Christoph Willibald
Ritter von Gluck at Convent Garden.
Also in the
1970s he appeared with the English Baroque Soloists to perform Acis and Galatea by Georg Frideric Handel at the 1977 Innsbruck Festival of Early
Music. In 1979 he went to the United States where he made his American debut as the
conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
In 1980 he became
the conductor of the CBC Vancouver Orchestra in Canada and after leaving that position in 1983
he went to work with the Opera National de Lyon as their Music Director. He totally revamped this orchestra
during his time there and also worked at the Gottingen
Handel Festival from 1981 to 1990 as the Artistic Director. Continuing his work with the
Monteverdi Singers the toured the world with them in 1989 for their 25th
When 1990 came
around he founded the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique
which performed on period instruments.
With them he performed a European tour in 1993. Alongside this he also joined the
North German Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1991 and started a four year tenure with them.
At the start
of the new millennium he embarked on the 52-week Bach Cantata Pilgrimage
where he performed at various churches in the US and Europe.
In 2004 he then went on a further European tour, this time with the
Monteverdi Choir. He was due to
tour Australia with the choir in 2013 but cancelled
this due to health reasons.
During his remarkable
career he has championed the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, worked as a
guest conductor with countless major international orchestras and appeared on
more then 250 recordings which have garnered him two Grammy Awards.
knighted in 1998 as well as having been given honours such as the Order of
Merit of the Federal Republic of German and the Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur from France.
He has also received honorary doctorates from the University of
Lyon, the Royal Academy of Music and King’s College.