Music is a continuum and the modern and avant-garde composers of today will be part of the standard repertoire 30 years from now. - Neville Marriner
English violinist and conductor Neville Marriner was born in Lincoln on 15 April 1924. He studied violin with his father (a carpenter and amateur musician), then with Frederick Mountney and at the Royal College of Music in London with W H Reed and at the Paris Conservatoire with René Benedetti.
He began his career playing violin in a string quartet and trio, then in the London Symphony Orchestra. He worked for Toscanini, Furtwängler, Joseph Krips, George Szell, Stokowsky and Pierre Monteux, so was able to study their technique at close quarters.
After years of playing with quartets and orchestras, he studied conducting with Pierre Mounteux at his school in Hancock, Maine, USA.
Founding the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields (which rehearsed initially in his front room) in 1958, and acting as its musical director until 2011 (when he handed over to Joshua Bell and became life president), he found a new career on the rostrum, which spread around the globe, partly due to his many recordings on labels including Argo, EMI Classics, L'Oiseau Lyre and Philips.
From 1969 he took a string of top conducting jobs - he founded the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and was its first music director, he was music director of the Minnesota Orchestra, and principal conductor of the Südwest Deutsche Radio Orchestra in Stuttgart. He continued to work with orchestras around the globe, including in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Athens, New York, Boston, San Francisco and Tokyo.
He supervised the Mozart selections for the soundtrack of the 1984 film Amadeus, and the resulting recording became one of the most popular ever in the classical charts, selling more than 6.5 million copies.
The awful thing about a conductor becoming geriatric is that you seem to become more desirable, not less. - Neville Marriner
Marriner continued conducting into his nineties, passing away peacefully in the night on 2 October 2016, aged ninety-two.
I am deeply saddened by the news of Sir Neville Marriner's passing. He was one of the most extraordinary human beings I have ever known. I will remember him for his brilliance, his integrity, and his humor, both on and off the concert platform. Maestro Marriner will always be the heart and soul of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and we musicians of the orchestra will miss him dearly. - Joshua Bell, Music Director, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields
A selection of M&V articles about Neville Marriner
CD Spotlight. Sheer Beauty - Dvorák serenades, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Performances by the Czech Nonet ... and the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Neville Marriner ... are exemplary, and all the colourful harmonies and exuberant rhythms are brought out with a virtuosity that is quite unmatchable.'
CD Spotlight. Nostalgic or Prophetic? - Sergei Rachmaninov's Symphony No 2 and 'Vocalise', heard by Lucas Ball. '... there is a great sense of direction in this recording.'
CD Spotlight. A Worthy Tribute - Purcell opera suites conducted by Neville Marriner, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... full-blown Purcellian splendour ...'
CD Spotlight. Longing Fulfilled - Cyprien Katsaris arranges Beethoven's 'Emperor' Concerto, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. '... unparalleled success ...'
Ensemble. 2011 Specials - A roundup of London concerts enjoyed by Bill Newman, featuring recitals by Alice Sara Ott, the Emerson Quartet, Martin Fröst and Roland Pontinen, the Orchestra of the Polish EU Presidency, Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä and Roope Grondahl, and Martino Tirimo's Rosamunde Trio
CD Spotlight. Many Riches - The Deller Consort performs Purcell, recommended by George Balcombe. 'Alfred Deller is fantastic ...'
CD Spotlight. A Strange Choice - Violin concertos by Vivaldi, heard by Howard Smith. '... reliable and persuasive ...'
CD Spotlight. Sovereign Advocacy - Haydn, Hummel, Leopold Mozart and Neruda trumpet concertos, recommended by Howard Smith. '... expect nothing but the best ...'
Mind my harpsichord! - In affectionate memory of Igor Kipnis, close friend and musical collaborator, by Bill Newman