Sir John Barbirolli


Born: 1899   Died: 1970   Country: England  
Sir John Barbirolli studied cello as a boy, making his debut public appearance at the age of twelve. He received a formal education at Trinity College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, from which he graduated in 1916. Upon graduation, he found a position in the Queen's Hall Orchestra, becoming its youngest member. He made his professional solo debut as a cellist in Aeolian Hall, London, in 1917.

During World War I he joined the Read more British Army; while in the service he got his first taste of conducting by leading an all-volunteer orchestra. After his service ended in 1919, he returned to the Queen's Hall Orchestra. He also resumed performances as a cello soloist, appearing with the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra. He joined and toured with the International String Quartet beginning in 1923. Soon after, he organized and conducted a chamber orchestra in Chelsea.

The British National Opera Company engaged him to conduct on tour. On December 12, 1927, he attracted attention by successfully substituting as conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra when Sir Thomas Beecham was indisposed; during the 1928 season he began to conducting opera regularly in London at both Sadler's Wells and Covent Garden.

In 1933 he was appointed permanent conductor of the Scottish Orchestra, remaining in that position for three seasons. At the same time he was the conductor of the Leeds Symphony Orchestra, and guest-conducted several orchestras at home and abroad. During the 1936-1937 season he accepted a ten-week position as guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic. This led to an invitation to assume the principal conductorship of that orchestra, in which capacity he succeeded Arturo Toscanini. Barbirolli remained with the Philharmonic through 1942. During his tenure in New York, he gave the world premieres of the Violin Concerto and the Sinfonia da Requiem of Benjamin Britten, then resident in New York. While in the United States, Barbirolli also appeared with various American and Canadian orchestras.

Barbirolli was never a favorite of the New York critics during his time with the Philharmonic, and many audience members wanted something more flamboyant than his objective approach. And his relationship with the members of the orchestra wasn't always harmonious; but he had the support of Arthur Judson, the orchestra's manager, who especially appreciated the fact that the conductor tended to work well with guest soloists, whose performances were a major source of prestige for the orchestra. He was reportedly offered a new contract at the end of his fifth year, but to accept would have required him to take American citizenship, something he was unwilling to do with England locked in the midst of a battle for survival. He returned to England in 1943 and began his long tenure as conductor of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, which he ultimately transformed into a world class ensemble rivaling the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic, as well as such postwar ensembles as the Royal Philharmonic and the Philharmonia; in 1958 he reduced the number of yearly concerts he performed with them when he took the title "Conductor-in-Chief," and in 1968 he retired from the Hallé with the title "Conductor Laureate for Life ."

Meanwhile, he had returned to America; recruited by the Houston Symphony Orchestra's indefatigable patroness Ima Hogg to succeed Leopold Stokowski, he became their conductor from 1961-1967. The 1960s were also marked by many guest and touring appearances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the Hallé. He was knighted in 1949 and was made a Companion of Honour in 1969.

His repertoire centered on the late Romantic era, and on British composers Elgar, Vaughan Williams, and Delius; he led the first performances of Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 7 and Symphony No. 8 ;the composer also bestowed the nickname "Glorious John" upon the conductor. Aside from the music of Britten, he showed little interest in music of modern tendencies; late in his career, though, he developed a particular affinity for Gustav Mahler. Barbirolli left a notable recorded legacy that extends well into the stereo LP era. Read less

Browse 26-50 of 136 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Brahms: Symphony No. 2 / Barbirolli, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1469 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 27.
    Gold & Silver / Barbiolli, Halle Orchestra
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7057 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Claude Debussy,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Laurance Turner
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
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  • 28.
    Beethoven, Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos / Fritz Kreisler
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 1917 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Fritz Kreisler
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Landon Ronald
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 29.
    Love Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82159 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Mirella Freni,  José Carreras,  Alfredo Kraus  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers,  Herbert von Karajan,  Nicola Rescigno,  Bruno Bartoletti  ... 
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  • 30.
    British Composers - Barbirolli Conducts Elgar
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 95444 Release Date: 05/03/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Jacqueline Du Pré
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Allegri String Quartet,  Sinfonia of London  ... 
    On sale! $38.98
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  • 31.
    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
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  • 32.
    Icon - Edwin Fischer
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 29499 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Edwin Fischer,  Ronald Smith,  Denis Matthews,  Raymond Clark  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Edwin Fischer,  Josef Krips,  Lawrence Collingwood  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $107.98
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  • 33.
    A Century Of Romantic Chopin
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 54001 Release Date: 08/19/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Moritz Rosenthal,  Alfred Cortot,  Rosita Renard,  Sydney Foster  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
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  • 34.
    50 Best Opera
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57531 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Cornelius Hauptmann,  Margareta Lilowa,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Ursula Kunz  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Bernard Haitink,  Rafael Kubelik,  Peter Schneider  ... 
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  • 35.
    50 Best Relaxing Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57547 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet,  Gabriel Fauré,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Hans Kalafusz,  Stephen Farr,  Han-Na Chang,  Jacqueline Du Pré  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Sir Neville Marriner,  David Hill,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra Wind and Brass Ensemble
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  • 36.
    50 Best Romantic Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57555 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Georges Bizet,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Ann Murray,  Jessye Norman,  Han-Na Chang,  Maria Callas  ... 
    Conductor:  Sylvain Cambreling,  Leonard Slatkin,  Georges Prêtre,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
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  • 37.
    Mahler: The Complete Works
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 08985 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Wolfram Rieger,  Christa Ludwig,  Fritz Wunderlich  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Otto Klemperer,  Klaus Tennstedt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $61.49
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  • 38.
    Best Verdi 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40878 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Richard Van Allan,  Keith Erwen,  Delia Wallis,  Ferruccio Mazzoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Tullio Serafin,  Riccardo Muti,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 39.
    Classical Favourites Sampler
    Label: Avid   Catalog: 577 Release Date: 05/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Giacomo Puccini,  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Jussi Björling,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claudia Muzio,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Nils Grevillius,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Arturo Toscanini  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 40.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos / Edwin Fischer
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 7303 Release Date: 05/11/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Edwin Fischer
    Conductor:  Edwin Fischer,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Lawrence Collingwood,  Josef Krips
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  • 41.
    The Hit Men: The Greatest Voices Of Our Time
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28546 Release Date: 04/20/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Salvatore Cardillo,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Franco Corelli,  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Rafaele Mingardo,  Bruno Bartoletti,  James Levine  ... 
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  • 42.
    Icon - Artur Rubinstein - The Chopin Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 55334 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Icon - Beniamino Gigli - Tenor Legend
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 55693 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Pietro Mascagni,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Beniamino Gigli,  Licia Albanese,  Leone Paci,  Giuseppe Nessi  ... 
    Conductor:  Umberto Berrettoni,  Franco Ghione,  Carlo Sabajno,  Walter Goehr  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $57.98
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  • 44.
    Warlock - Collected 78rpm Recordings 1925-1951
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 27811 Release Date: 12/08/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Warlock
    Performer:  Dennis Noble,  Flora Nielsen,  Rene Soames,  Billy Neeley  ... 
    Conductor:  Leslie Woodgate,  Constant Lambert,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Anthony Bernard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Festival Singers,  Truro County Girls' School Choir,  BBC Chorus  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 45.
    Mahler: Symphony No 6 / Sir John Barbirolli, New Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1451 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 46.
    Best Wedding 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64262 Release Date: 06/16/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Klinko,  Ian Brown,  Christopher van Kampen,  Susan Tomes  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Reginald Kilbey,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  Vienna String Sextet Members,  Ensemble Berlin  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 47.
    Romeo & Juliet - The Classical Album - Berlioz, Delius, Etc
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 66427 Release Date: 05/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Hector Berlioz,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Frederick Delius  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Mariss Jansons,  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 48.
    Icon - Fritz Kreisler - The Charming Maverick
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 65042 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Fritz Kreisler,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Richard Heuberger  ... 
    Performer:  Fritz Kreisler,  Haddon Squire,  William Primrose,  Thomas Petre  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Landon Ronald,  Leo Blech  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kreisler String Quartet,  Royal Albert Hall Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $77.98
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  • 49.
    Butterworth: Symphony 1 & 4, Viola Concerto / Butterworth, Barbirolli, Et Al
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 7212 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Butterworth
    Performer:  Sarah-Jane Bradley
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Arthur Butterworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 50.
    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  ... 
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