Conducting Overseas

It was in 1969 that Marriner became the founder-conductor of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, an arrangement which lasted ten years. Then he spent his trans-Atlantic months of the early ‘80s in Minneapolis with the Minnesota Orchestra – not one of the ‘big five’ (New York Phil, Chicago SO, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Boston SO) but a good professional city orchestra with the potential to become better under the right leadership, which the Englishman duly provided.

“One of the things I discovered when I became a conductor of symphony orchestras is that you can’t get voluptuousness just by getting all the notes right. You have to work hard to get the flesh on.”

The role of chief conductor with Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra followed, in another major city (not exactly Berlin or Munich) but a fresh opportunity to make something competent better than that – and much nearer home.

A Philips LP sleeve for Neville Marriner conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam in music by Elgar, featuring a ‘wind-blown’ Union Jack.
Marriner made two discs for Philips of British music with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam

By the turn of the century, Marriner was known on every major podium in the world, including in Japan (about which country, way back in 1972, he had stated his ambition to have an orchestra of entirely Japanese musicians!) and eventually, when the 21st century dawned, South Korea and China.

Having worked for seven seasons as chief conductor of Minnesota Orchestra in the 1980s, the 79-year-old Sir Neville Marriner is seen here in determined mood on the podium there in 2003.
Marriner had been chief conductor of Minnesota Orchestra 1979-86; he is seen here on a return visit in 2003