Antony Beaumont


Antony Beaumont is an English writer, musicologist, and conductor who specializes in German music of the Weimar period. Beaumont studied at Cambridge, wrote reviews for The Daily Telegraph, and moonlighted as a disc jockey for the BBC, in addition to playing violin and piano in BBC pickup groups. As a freelance violinist, Beaumont had the privilege of working under Otto Klemperer, Leopold Stokowski, and Georg Solti. Upon graduating, Beaumont relocated to Germany, became a German citizen, and has held posts with orchestras in Bremen, Cologne, and Saarbrücken. Beaumont has appeared occasionally in England and in Italy as well, mainly as a guest conductor in opera productions.

It is in the field of musicology, rather than in conducting, that Beaumont has truly made his mark. In 1984 he completed a new version of Ferruccio Busoni's unfinished opera Doktor Faust, notwithstanding the realization Busoni's pupil Philipp Jarnach had made in 1925. Although Beaumont's edition of Doktor Faust was made with the benefit of newly discovered sketches relating to the work, it has gained little traction in the opera world, where the old Jarnach edition, or simply presenting the scenes for which Busoni did not complete music in a spoken rendition similar to a stage play, is more common. Nevertheless, in 1987 Beaumont published a selection of Busoni's letters, which helped revolutionize Busoni studies in general. In the 1990s, Beaumont turned his attention to the work of Alexander Zemlinsky with a vengeance, preparing a completion of Zemlinsky's incomplete opera Der König Kandaules, which has become the standard; Beaumont followed that with the first comprehensive biography of the composer in 2000, which was widely praised. He published a volume of Gustav Mahler's letters in 2004, and followed that with a volume devoted to Alma Mahler Werfel's early diaries in 2006.

Critics are on the fence about Beaumont's conducting; some comment that his conducting seems out of sympathy with the post-Romantic/early Modern idiom of the works he tends to favor. Beaumont remains a controversial figure, but one that has undoubtedly contributed much to our understanding of music in the early years of the twentieth century.