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Harry Rabinowitz

British conductor and composer Harry Rabinowitz was born on 26 March 1916 in Johannesburg, South Africa and studied at the University of Witwatersrand and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

His career began playing piano sheet music in a Johannesburg department store for prospective customers. His first conducting assignment was for the 1945 show Strike a New Note. The following year he moved to London to study conducting.

In a conducting career mostly involving light music and film music, he worked with the BBC Revue Orchestra (1953-60), BBC TV Light Entertainment (1960-68), London Weekend Television (1968-77) and at the Hollywood Bowl (1983-4), with the Boston Pops Orchestra (1985-92), and with the London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras.

Film scores he conducted include Hanover Street, Chariots of Fire, Heat and Dust, The Bostonians, Return to Oz, Lady Jane, The Remains of the Day, The English Patient, The Talented Mr Ripley and Cold Mountain. He was also the first conductor for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats.

He wrote music for TV series, including The Frost Report, I, Claudius, The Agatha Christie Hour and Reilly, Ace of Spades.

For the last couple of decades of his life, Harry Rabinowitz lived in Portland, Oregon, USA in the winter (where he enjoyed the chamber music) and in France during the summer, and he continued to play the piano every day. He died at his home in Provence on 22 June 2016, aged one hundred.

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