"In musical and general education the conductor must be unusually well equipped. He must have a great deal of musical knowledge; and I don't just mean of orchestral scores. He must also have a working knowledge of all instruments with which he is to come in contact, including the human voice."
Sir Adrian Boult (1889-1983) spoke these words in a broadcast talk in February 1947. As a performer he exemplified the supreme professional. With a baton technique second to none, Boult's greatest achievement was the formation of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1930 and its subsequent development into a world-class ensemble by the end of that decade. The sheer range of music played during his time with the BBC remains extraordinary, including many world and British premieres. Unceremoniously dumped by the BBC at the mandatory retiring age of 60, Sir Adrian then worked with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1950s. For the last 30 years of his life he served as a guest conductor, except for a single year in Birmingham. Boult was knighted in 1937 and made a Companion of Honour in 1969. He retired in 1979.
Boult was a prolific recording artist and many of his finest recorded performances can be found on EMI Classics. He was particularly renowned for his interpretations of the music of the English masters, particularly Elgar and Vaughan Williams, and his much-praised readings of the music of Brahms, Schubert and Wagner can also be found on EMI Classics.