From the 1950s onwards he was a committed exponent of ‘historically informed’ performance practice and worked with period ensembles as well as encouraging modern ensembles to play in a period style.
Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera House told Associated Press that “Charlie Mackerras’ impact on the development of musical performance practice over the last 60 years has been enormous. He was a force of nature, a true man of the theatre, who grappled with how to honour a composer’s intentions with the utmost rhythmic flair, drama and enthusiasm.”
Sir Charles was knighted in 1979 and made a Companion of Honour (an honour reserved for 65 living persons of distinction) in 2003. He became an Honorary Fellow of the Guildhall School in 2007.
Anthony Rolfe Johnson
British tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson has died at the age of 69 in London.
Described by Gramophone. co.uk
as “A late starter who
already seemed set in his career as a farmer before he was persuaded to train his voice [he studied with Ellis Keeler and Vera Rosza at the Guildhall School], he was in his thirties before his attention-grabbing 1973 major- role debut with the English Opera Group, in Iolanthe. By that time it was already evident that the sheer beauty of his voice, allied to an artistry and assurance of technique that took precious little time to mature, would propel him to an international career.”
Over the course of his career he performed in Handel’s oratorios, sang the role of Evangelist in J. S. Bach’s St John Passion and St Matthew Passion, and sang solos in Haydn’s The Seasons and The Creation. His opera recordings included Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, Mozart’s Idomeneo and La clemenza di Tito, and Britten’s Peter Grimes, amongst many others. He also performed much early music, including Monteverdi’s Ulysses and Orfeo.
Anthony Rolfe Johnson performed at major opera houses around the world, including the English National Opera and Royal
Opera House in London, La Monnaie in Brussels, La Scala, Milan, the Metropolitan Opera, New York, the Vienna State Opera, and the Paris Opera.
In addition to his operatic performances he appeared in concert with many of the world’s major symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and Boston Philharmonic, and conductors, such as Mstislav Rostropovich and Seiji Ozawa. He also gave song recitals with Graham Johnson, many of which were recorded, and was a founder member of Graham Johnson’s The Songmakers’ Almanac. In 1988 he re- launched the Gregynog Festival, remaining its artistic director until 2006.
Anthony Rolfe Johnson was made a CBE in 1992.
On Friday April 30th, Stephen Shimwell, a Guildhall alumnus from 1971 – 1974, passed away.
A gifted euphonium player and conductor, he had a very distinguished career in conducting, playing and as a civilian professor at the Royal Marines School of Music, Deal, Kent.
His early career was in several local authority Music Services: Brass Tutor to the City of Peterborough; Deputy Head of the Amber Valley and Erewash Music Centre, then Acting Head and finally Head of this Music Centre.
During this period, he was MD of several brass bands: he formed the Peterborough Concert Band; he led the Ransome Hoffmann and Pollard Brass Band to a top ten result at the National Championships and 3rd in the British Open Championships: he then led the Jaguar Cars City of Coventry Band, at the highest national level, including tours to promote
the European and American product launches of 1983 and 1984.
During his tenure with the Royal Marines School of Music, he was awarded a Citation for “outstanding contribution to training” (the first civilian recipient of this award) and was appointed Head of Aural Training and Examination Syllabus Development RMSM.
During this period, Stephen was appointed to the Guildhall Board of Examiners, becoming an Examiner Trainer after 3 years. He then continued in these roles as a Trinity Guildhall examiner following the change in administration of these examinations.
His distinguished career continued, following the closure of the Deal College, as Lecturer in Classical Music, responsible for “A” Level, diploma and theory tuition, aural training and keyboard skills at Clarendon College, Nottingham.
He then planned to travel to Oman, to take up a post with Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra, when a pre-appointment medical showed up his serious health problems and he was unable to take up the role.
He continued as a freelance teacher of music in the Derbyshire LEA and privately until his sad demise.
He was married to Gillian (née Foster) – also a Guildhall student, this time on the drama course, and they had 2 sons – James Joseph and Stephen Alexander.
All the members of his last band took the day of his funeral off and played in the service, a stunning tribute to the quality of his musicianship and leadership. He conducted them less than a week before his death, leading them in a performance of the highest standard.
He was a musician who will be sadly missed throughout the world of music.
v Gill Gordon (Piano/Voice 1974) friend and student colleague
Guildhall School of Music & Drama
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Sussie Ahlburg, Bill Cooper, Janet Farmer, Esther Haase, Robbie Jack, Nina Large, Johan Persson, Robert Piwko, Laurence Burns, Amanda Stephen, Clive Totman, Horace Wetton
GUILDHALL SCHOOL NEWS • AUTUMN / WINTER 2010
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