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John Hollingsworth

Biography

Born: March 20, 1916; Enfield, England   Died: December 29, 1963; London, England  
Conductor John Hollingsworth enjoyed success with the lighter classical repertory, both in concert and on record, and played an important role in British film music. Born in Enfield, Middlesex, in 1916, he was educated at the Guildhall School of Music, and in 1937, at age 21, he conducted the London Symphony Orchestra for the first time, becoming the youngest man up to that time ever to conduct the L.S.O., or later, the London Philharmonic and Read more National Symphony orchestras. When World War II broke out, he joined the Royal Air Force and served as assistant conductor of the Royal Air Force Band and associate conductor of the Royal Air Force Symphony Orchestra. He entered the British film industry in 1946, joining The Rank Organisation under Muir Mathieson while also conducting for the Royal Ballet and later for the Royal Opera House. His earliest screen credits were as conductor on A Piece of Cake (1946), When the Bough Breaks (1947), and They Made Me a Fugitive (1947). He left Rank in 1949 to become music director of the Central Office of Information, a documentary unit, and in 1950 also became conductor of the Sadler's Wells Ballet. During the 1950s, he conducted at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and directed the Tunbridge Wells Symphony concerts, in addition to conducting performances in Europe and America, and he became associate conductor of the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts. Amid all of this activity, he maintained his film work, joining the music department at Hammer Films, which was coincidental with its emergence to international prominence as a source of science fiction and horror movies. Hollingsworth was responsible for conducting the music for such genre classics as The Quatermass Experiment (1955), Quatermass 2 (1957), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), and Horror of Dracula (1958). In 1955, he also gave Richard Rodney Bennett, then a promising composer/performer, the chance to write his first film score. Over the next eight years, Hollingsworth was Bennett's mentor in the movie music field, opening up an area in which the composer would excel for a half century to come. During the 1950s, as the long-playing record revolutionized classical music listening, Hollingsworth recorded extensively, principally in the lighter classical area, including a Nutcracker Suite with the L.S.O., Grieg's Elegiac Melodies and Sigurd Jorsalfar with the Covent Garden Orchestra, and a popular version of the Gilbert and Sullivan ballet pastiche Pineapple Poll with the Pro Arte Orchestra. He died suddenly of pneumonia in 1963. Read less

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