Charles Mackerras

Charles Mackerras

Australian conductor
Date of Birth: 17.11.1925
Country: Great Britain

Content:
  1. Biography of Charles Mackerras
  2. Early Musical Education and Career
  3. International Career
  4. Contributions and Recognitions

Biography of Charles Mackerras

Charles Mackerras was an Australian conductor who achieved international acclaim for his performances and interpretations of classical music. Born in 1925 in New York City, Mackerras grew up in a musically inclined family. His parents, Alan Mackerras and Catherine MacLaurin, were both Australian, and Charles was the oldest of seven children. In 1927, the Mackerras family returned to Australia, and Charles completed his education in Sydney.

Charles Mackerras

Early Musical Education and Career

From a young age, Mackerras showed a keen interest in music. At the age of 16, he enrolled at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music in Sydney to study oboe, piano, and composition. By the early 1940s, Mackerras was already playing the oboe in the ABC Sydney Orchestra and became its principal oboist at the age of 19.

Charles Mackerras

International Career

After World War II, Mackerras moved to England, where he began playing the oboe and cor anglais for the Sadler's Wells Theatre. He was awarded a scholarship from the British Council, which allowed him to study at the Prague Academy of Music under the guidance of Václav Talich. He also trained with the Czech Philharmonic before returning to England in 1948 to join the English National Opera.

Charles Mackerras

Mackerras conducted operas by renowned composers such as Bach, Handel, Gluck, Donizetti, and Janácek. In 1963, he made his debut at London's Covent Garden conducting Shostakovich's "Katerina Izmailova." In 1972, he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, conducting Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice." He continued to conduct regularly at these famous venues throughout his career.

Charles Mackerras

Contributions and Recognitions

In 1973, Mackerras participated in the opening concert of the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson. From 1987 to 1992, he served as the head of the Welsh National Opera and actively promoted the works of Czech composer Janácek, whom he admired greatly. Mackerras was renowned for his interpretation of a wide range of composers, including Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Verdi, Mahler, Elgar, Dvořák, Janácek, Delius, Britten, and many others.

Charles Mackerras

In August 2008, Mackerras became the honorary president of the Edinburgh International Festival, succeeding Yehudi Menuhin. He received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including the Order of the British Empire in 1974, knighthood in 1979, the Medal of Merit from the Czech Republic in 1996, and the Order of Australia in 1997. According to BBC Music Magazine, Mackerras was ranked 20th on the list of "100 Greatest Conductors of All Time."

Charles Mackerras

Charles Mackerras battled cancer in his later years, and he passed away on July 14, 2010. His legacy as a conductor and his contributions to the world of classical music continue to be celebrated and appreciated.

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