Sir Roger Arthur Carver Norrington was born in Oxford March 16, 1934, and comes from a musical University family. He was a talented boy soprano, studying the violin from the age of ten and singing from the age of seventeen. He read English Literature at Cambridge University, and spent several years as an amateur violinist, tenor singer, and conductor, before attending the Royal College of Music as a postgraduate student of conducting, studying with Sir Adrian Boult.
In 1962 Norrington founded the Schütz Choir. This marked the beginning of a thirty-year exploration of historical performance practice. With the choir, he gave many innovative concerts, and made numerous recordings for Argo/Decca, chiefly of 17th-century repertoire. These performances were initially accompanied by the London Baroque players, and later, as his explorations moved forward chronologically, by the London Classical Players. As Norrington’s interest in performance practice reached the Classical period and beyond, the London Classical Players grew in prominence, and the Schütz Choir went into semi-retirement, though they continue to give occasional concerts.
The London Classical Players leapt to worldwide fame with Norrington’s dramatic performances of Beethoven’s symphonies on period instruments. The recordings of these works for EMI won prizes in the UK, Belgium, Germany and the United States, and are some of the most sought-after readings of Beethoven Symphonies in our times. Many other recordings followed, not only of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, but also of many 19th-century composers including Berlioz, Weber, Schubert, Schumann and Rossini. Norrington continues to push the boundaries of performance practice still further with groundbreaking recordings of Brahms’s four symphonies, and of works by composers including Wagner, Bruckner and Smetana.
Norrington’s work on scores, orchestral sound and size, seating and playing style has had a growing effect on the perception of 18th- and 19th-century orchestral music. He is in great demand as a guest conductor for symphony orchestras worldwide, working regularly with orchestras in Berlin, Vienna, Leipzig, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. He is Chief Conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and of the Camerata Salzburg, and is closely associated with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment (which has taken over the work of the London Classical Players), and with the Philharmonia.
Norrington also has wide experience as a conductor of opera. He was Music Director of the successful Kent Opera for fifteen years, conducting over 400 performances of 40 different works. He has worked as a guest conductor at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, at the English National Opera, at La Scala, La Fenice and the Maggio Musicale, and at the Wiener Staatsoper and the Salzburg Festival.
He has recorded extensively for EMI, Virgin and Decca, made discs for Sony and BMG, and appears regularly on recordings for Hänssler Verlag with the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra.
Norrington was knighted in June 1997 and is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, a Cavaliere of the Italian Republic, Prince Consort of the Royal College of Music and Professor and Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, an Honorary Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, a Doctor of Music at the University of Kent and a Doctor of the University of York.
== (Mostly) from the website of the Royal College of Music, London
Johann Joachim Quantz's On Playing Flute has long been recognized as one of the most significant and in-depth treatises on eighteenth-century musical thought, performance practice, and style. This classic text of Baroque music instruction goes far beyond an introduction to flute methods by offering a comprehensive program of studies that is equally applicable to other instruments and singers. The work is comprised of three interrelated essays that examine the education of the solo musician, the art of accompaniment, and forms and style. Quantz provides detailed treatment of a wide range of subjects, including phrasing, ornamentation, accent, intensity, tuning, cadenzas, the role of the concertmaster, stage deportment, and techniques for playing dance movements. Of special interest is a table that relates various tempos to the speed of the pulse, which will help today's musicians solve the challenge of playing authentic performance tempos in Baroque music. This edition includes 224 musical examples from Quantz's original text and features a new introduction by translator Edward R. Reilly that considers recent scholarship on Quantz's significant role in eighteenth-century musical activity. On Playing the Flute vividly conveys the constancy of musical life over time and remains a valuable guide for contemporary musicians.
Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773), son of a blacksmith, enjoyed a long and successful career as a virtuoso soloist and orchestral performer on a variety of instruments. He was also a composer, an exceptional teacher and writer, and a flute maker. Tutor and Royal Prussian Chamber Musician to Frederick the Great, Quantz studied in Dresden and traveled throughout Europe to refine his musical skills and knowledge. Edward R. Reilly is Professor of Music, Emeritus, at Vassar College. He is the author of Quantz and His Versuch: Three Studies.
== From the listing on Amazon.com
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© 1996 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on April 26, 1996. Portions were broadcast on WNIB in 1999. This transcription was made in 2019, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.