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 98 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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:  Teresa Cahill,  Philip Langridge,  Michael Rippon
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    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  ... 
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  • 4.
    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
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  • 5.
    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
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  • 6.
    Delius - 150th Anniversary Edition [18-CDs]
    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  ... 
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  • 7.
    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  ... 
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  • 8.
    Rachmaninov: Symphony No 2 / Handley, RPO
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28220 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 9.
    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
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    The Ride of the Valkyries - Orchestral Music by Wagner / Royal PO
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28080 Release Date: 09/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Mackenzie: Violin Concerto, Pibroch Suite / Stewart, Et Al
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55343 Release Date: 06/09/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Mackenzie
    Performer:  Malcolm Stewart
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  David Davies
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Epoch - Ireland: Piano Concerto; Walton: Sinfonia Concertante / Handley, Stott
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 7223 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Frank Bridge,  John Ireland
    Performer:  Kathryn Stott
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 14.
    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
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  • 15.
    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
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  • 16.
    Holst: The Planets, St. Paul's Suite / Handley, RPO
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28070 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Vaughan Williams - The Collector's Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 06636 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Anonymous,  Traditional,  Henry Walford Davies
    Performer:  Norma Burrowes,  Ian Partridge,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Raimund Herincx  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Meredith Davies,  Sir Charles Groves,  Sir David Willcocks  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 18.
    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
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  • 19.
    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
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  • 20.
    Banks, Morgan, Fricker: Violin Concertos / Neaman, Gruenberg
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 276 Release Date: 06/10/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Don Banks,  David [British ] Morgan,  Peter Racine Fricker
    Performer:  Yfrah Neaman,  Erich Gruenberg
    Conductor:  Norman Del Mar,  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Bax: Tone Poems Vol 2 / Handley, BBC PO
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10446 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Beethoven, Gershwin: Piano Concertos / Cherkassky, Et Al
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4231 Release Date: 04/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  George Gershwin
    Performer:  Shura Cherkassky
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Holst: St Paul's Suite; Warlock: Capriol Suite/ Sir Adrian Boult, Vernon Handley
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 336 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Lord (Tyrwhitt) Berners,  Percy Aldridge Grainger  ... 
    Performer:  Rodney Friend,  Desmond Bradley,  Irvine Arditti
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Nicholas Braithwaite,  Sir Andrew Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 24.
    Premieres And Encores - Rawsthorne, Morgan, Warlock
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 318 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Chagrin,  Peter Warlock,  Malcolm Arnold,  David Morgan  ... 
    Conductor:  John Pritchard,  Nicholas Braithwaite,  Vernon Handley,  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Busch: Cello Concerto, Piano Concerto / Wallfisch
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 320 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Busch
    Performer:  Raphael Wallfisch,  Piers Lane
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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