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Malcolm Sargent


Born: April 29, 1895 - Ashford, Kent, England 1
Died: Ocober 3, 1967 - London, England

The father of the eminent English conductor, Sir (Harold) Malcolm (Watts) Sargent, was an amateur organist and choirmaster. Malcolm Sargent himself studied piano and organ and sang in a number of choirs. At the age of sixteen he became Keeton's assistant as organist at Peterborough Cathedral (until 1914).

From 1914 to 1924 Malcolm Sargent was titular organist at Melton Mowbray church. During this period, he studied musicology at Durham, graduating in 1919. From 1919 to 1921 he studied piano with Benno Moiseiwitsch. Sir Henry Wood invited him to conduct his orchestra at Leicester and at the Promenade concerts at the Queen's Hall. He decided to devote himself exclusively to conducting from then on. In 1923 he became lecturer at the Royal College of Music in London, from 1927 to 1928 principal assistant to the Ballets Russes in London and from 1929 to 1940 musical director of the Courtauld-Sargent Concerts. A serious illness forced him to take a rest in 1933-1934 and it was only at the end of the 1930s that he returned to the concert scene with some performances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He then conducted the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester (1939-1942), the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (1942-1948) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1950-1957). From 1948 until his death he was in charge of the Proms, the world-famous London Promenade Concerts. He also achieved great success as the conductor of many choral societies. From 1928 to 1967 he conducted the Royal Choral Society, from 1932 the Huddersfield Choral Society, from 1941 the Liverpool Welsh Society and from 1947 the Leeds Philharmonic Society.

Throughout his life, Sir Malcolm Sargent was a passionate advocate of contemporary English music and he conducted a whole range of important first performances, including At the Boar's Head (1925) by Gustav Holst, Hugh the Drover (1924) Sir John in Love (1929) Riders to the Sea (1937) and Symphony No. 9 (1958) by Ralph Vaughan Williams, further Belshazzar's Feast (1931) and Troilus and Cressida (1954) by Sir William Walton. His Publications: The Outline of Music (in collaboration with M. Cooper, London 1962).