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Alwyn, Kenneth (28th July 1925-10th December 2020)

He is an orchestral conductor born in Croydon,London, England, and studied at the John Ruskin College.  After he had served in the RAF during WWII he went to the Royal Academy of Music and studied singing, viola and the organ, and in 1952 won the Mann’s Memorial Prize for Conducting.  He also founded the RAM Madrigal Choir as well as being an opera coach and sub-professor in organ.

1952 was a busy year for him as after working with Radio Malaya, Singapore and the Royal Wellington Choral Union in New Zealand he landed himself a job at the Sadlers Wells Theatre Ballet.  Five years later he went to the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House as a conductor.

He conducted the London Symphony Orchestra and made his first recording with them for Decca which was Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.  He was a former conductor of the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and over time became known for his recordings of film and ballet music. He specialized in British music and recordings and gave the Japanese premiere of Gustav Holst’s The Planets.  Through the years he has conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra , the Welsh National Opera, the City of Prague Philharmonic, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia among many others.

As a composer, his Fighter Command 1940 is used as a standard ceremonial march in the RAF. He was the musical director of the Philomusica Orchestra and wrote and presented concerts and programmes for television, such as The Orchestra with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra . He also devised the BBC Battle of Britain tour of North America for which he wrote and composed the music.

He served as musical director for the premieres of many Broadway and original British musicals, often working with the composer Gordon Langford.

He died in December 2020 when he was 95 years old.

BBC Concert Orchestra Recordings
Richard Addinsell
Fire Over England Suite
Marco Polo 8.223732 (CD: Richard Addinsell: Goodbye Mr. Chips/A Tale of Two Cities)
Conductor – Kenneth Alwyn

Goodbye Mr. Chips Suite
Marco Polo 8.223732 (CD: Goodbye Mr. Chips/A Tale of Two Cities)
Conductor – Kenneth Alwyn

Invitation Waltz (from Ring Round the Moon)
Marco Polo 8.223732 (CD: Goodbye Mr. Chips/A Tale of Two Cities)
Conductor – Kenneth Alwyn

The Philharmonia Orchestra recordings
The Red Shoes Ballet (Brian Easdale)
Conductor – Kenneth Alwyn

Here he is on his first recording in 1958 conducting the LSO for Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, accompanied by Band of HM Grenadier Guards…