Vernon Handley

Biography

Born: November 11, 1930; Enfield, England   Died: September 10, 2008; Monmouthshire, Wales  
One of England's busiest and most recorded conductors of the late twentieth century, Vernon Handley emerged since the 1970s as the successor to Sir Adrian Boult and Sir John Barbirolli as the leading exponent of English music. Like Boult before him, he made a career specialty out of performing and recording symphonic music from England, some of it well-known and much of it overlooked by previous generations of conductors and Read more audiences.

Vernon George Handley was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and the Guildhall School of Music. His earliest engagements as conductor were with the Oxford University Musical Club and Union, the Tonbridge Philharmonic Society, and the orchestra of the Hatfield School of Music and Drama. He became a professor of orchestra and conducting at the Royal College of Music during 1966, a post he held for six years. During the 1960s and 1970s, Handley was a frequent guest conductor with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the BBC Welsh Orchestra and the BBC Northern Symphony, the London Philharmonic, and the Philharmonia Orchestra. He was also frequently seen as a guest conductor on tour in various European countries, including Germany, Holland, Sweden, and France. Handley was also seen as a conductor at the London Proms concerts, and was the chief guest conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra from 1989 to 1994, in addition to holding posts with several Australian orchestras. In 1998 he became principal guest conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra, and was, as well, associate conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Handley's major impact as a conductor was through his recordings for EMI and Chandos, where he performed a large body of important English music. For EMI, his recordings of the music of Delius and Elgar, and, especially, the nine Vaughan Williams symphonies have proved perennially popular, the latter good successors to the earlier recordings by Sir Adrian Boult. For Chandos, he recorded a more unusual and specialized body of work, including the six symphonies of Sir Charles Villier Stanford -- which had largely been forgotten since the first decade of the twentieth century -- and the works of E.J. Moeran, Sir Arnold Bax, Sir Arthur Bliss, Peter Warlock, and Gerald Finzi, among many others. Handley also occasionally did work with more mainstream European composers, including conducting Jill Gomez's highly effective performance of the Joseph Canteloube's Songs of the Auvergne.

When he wasn't conducting, Handley spent much of his time studying and photographing birds in their natural habitats. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 100 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Explosive Classics / Various
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10989 Release Date: 07/21/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi,  Dmitri Kitayenko,  Richard Hickox,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 2.
    British Symphonies
    Label: Lyrita Recorded Edition - Nimb   Catalog: 2355 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  William Sterndale Bennett,  Cyril Rootham,  Ernest John Moeran,  Arnold Bax  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicolas Braithwaite,  Vernon Handley,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Myer Fredman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 3.
    Arnold: The Complete Conifer Recordings / Handley
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875181702 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold
    Performer:  Richard Markham,  David Nettle,  John Lill,  Nicholas Daniel  ... 
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Mark Stephenson,  Elgar Howarth,  Sir Malcolm Arnold
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Musici
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  • 4.
    British Cello Concertos / Wallfisch
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 241 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gerald Finzi,  Arnold Bax,  Sir Arthur Bliss,  Charles Villiers Stanford  ... 
    Performer:  Raphael Wallfisch
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Bryden Thomson,  Norman Del Mar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ulster Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 5.
    Cyril Rootham: Symphony No. 2; Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 2118 Release Date: 10/02/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Cyril Rootham
    Performer:  Philip Langridge
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 6.
    British Piano Concertos
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 2345 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Malcolm Williamson,  Alun Hoddinott,  Charles Villiers Stanford,  Gerald Finzi  ... 
    Performer:  Malcolm Williamson,  Philip Fowke,  Malcolm Binns,  Peter Katin  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Dommett,  Barry Wordsworth,  Nicholas Braithwaite,  Vernon Handley  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    British String Concertos
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 2346 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Samuel Coleridge-Taylor,  Gustav Holst,  Gerald Finzi,  William Busch  ... 
    Performer:  Lorraine McAslan,  Emanuel Hurwitz,  Kenneth Sillito,  Cecil Aronowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicholas Braithwaite,  Imogen Holst,  David Atherton,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $29.99
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  • 8.
    Elgar: Violin Concerto / Kennedy, Hadley, London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 332872 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Rusen Günes,  Russell Gilbert,  Peter Manning,  Alexander Cameron  ... 
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    CD: $12.99
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  • 9.
    Essential British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40306 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Susan Graham,  Emmanuelle Haďm,  Jane Parker-Smith,  Maurice André  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Alexander Briger,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Emmanuelle Haďm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert d'Astrée,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
    CD: $12.99
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  • 10.
    The Essential Malcolm Arnold / Stephenson, Handley, Et Al
    Label: Conifer   Catalog: 51263 Release Date: 05/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold
    Performer:  Derek James,  John Lill,  David Nettle,  Richard Markham  ... 
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Sir Malcolm Arnold,  Mark Stephenson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Grimethorpe Colliery Band,  London Musici
    CD: $17.99
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  • 11.
    100 Best British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27315 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Thomas Tallis,  John Goss,  Charles Villiers Stanford  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Hugh Bean,  Gerald Moore,  Dame Janet Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 12.
    50 Best British Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27359 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Thomas Tallis,  John Goss,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Williamson,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Peter Stevens  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Philip Ledger,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Wallace Collection (Brass Ensemble)
    CD: $11.99
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  • 13.
    Delius: 150th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 0841752 Release Date: 01/10/2012   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Frederick Delius
    Performer:  Piers Lane,  John Noble,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Yehudi Menuhin  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Vernon Handley,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Hallé Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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    CD: $68.99
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  • 14.
    Icon: Vernon Handley - Champion Of British Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 98202 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sir Arthur Bliss,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel Kennedy,  Tasmin Little
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 15.
    British Composers - Bliss
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 29018 Release Date: 08/23/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Sir Arthur Bliss
    Performer:  Arto Noras,  Sybil Michelow,  Norman Knight,  John Shirley-Quirk  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves,  Vernon Handley,  Paavo Berglund,  Sir Malcolm Arnold  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 16.
    British Ballet Music
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49819 Release Date: 05/17/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan,  Lord (Tyrwhitt) Berners,  Sir William Walton,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Robert Irving,  Louis Frémaux,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $12.99
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  • 17.
    Best of British - The Nation's Favourite Classical Music
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 31600 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gustav Holst,  Sir Edward Elgar,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  David Nolan,  Robert Cohen,  Paul Beniston,  Mair Jones  ... 
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Simon Rattle,  Norman Del Mar,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virtuosi of England
    Recommendation
    CD: $24.99
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  • 18.
    John Joubert, William Mathias: Symphony No 1 / Handley, Groves
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 340 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Joubert,  William Mathias
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Sir Charles Groves
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $18.99
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  • 19.
    Elgar: Sea Pictures, Symphony No 1 / Vernon Handley, Janet Baker
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 46 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Essential Cello
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 88582 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Luigi Boccherini  ... 
    Performer:  Han-Na Chang,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Steven Isserlis,  Maggie Cole  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Warren-Green,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Juha Kangas,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra members
    CD: $12.99
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  • 21.
    Gemini - Delius: Brigg Fair, Choral & Orchestral Miniatures / Barbirolli, Handley, Groves, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64312 Release Date: 03/24/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Frederick Delius
    Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk,  Robert Tear
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Richard Hickox,  Vernon Handley,  Sir Charles Groves  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northern Sinfonia of England,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Hallé Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 22.
    Arnold: Symphony No 2, Etc / Handley, Royal Po
    Label: Conifer   Catalog: 51240 Release Date: 10/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold
    Performer:  Richard Markham,  David Nettle
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    Delius: Cello Concerto / Lloyd Webber, Handley, Philharmonia
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 70800 Release Date: 10/22/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frederick Delius,  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 24.
    Arnold: Symphony No 7 & 8 / Handley, Royal Po
    Label: Conifer   Catalog: 15005 Release Date: 06/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold
    Performer:  Derek James
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 25.
    Rubbra: Violin Concerto, Viola Concerto / Little, Golani
    Label: Conifer   Catalog: 51225 Release Date: 06/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edmund Rubbra
    Performer:  Tasmin Little,  Rivka Golani
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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