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ROGER NORRINGTON

Born into a distinguished Oxford family which was musical as well as academic, from the age of ten Roger Norrington studied the violin and was a keen amateur singer. He won a choral scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge, where he studied English Literature and participated in the university’s vigorous musical life: in addition to singing he was active as an instrumentalist and conductor, and studied conducting with Sir Adrian Boult at the Royal College of Music. After graduating from Cambridge he went into publishing but continued to conduct, forming the Schütz Choir in 1962. His musical activities were halted when his employers sent him to work in Africa; but here he decided to make his future career in music and after returning to England he became a professional singer and conductor, leading numerous concerts and recording works from the seventeenth- and nineteenth-century choral repertoires with the Schütz Choir for the Argo record label. The choir was often accompanied in concert by the London Baroque Players.

In 1969 Norrington took up the post of chief conductor of Kent Opera, remaining with this company for fifteen years and conducting a wide repertoire of forty different works, a fact which helped to prevent him being narrowly labelled as a musical specialist. He made his debut with the English National Opera with Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in 1973, and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with Handel’s Samson in 1986. He has conducted opera in Italy at La Scala, Milan; La Fenice, Venice; and at the Maggio Musicale, Florence; as well as in Vienna, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam. In order to pursue the performance of a wider repertoire on period instruments than was then usual he formed the London Classical Players in 1978; the orchestra’s programme of concerts was often supplemented by popular ‘Experience’ weekends, during which interpretation and performance were examined in depth. In addition Norrington conducted the London Classical Players in a highly praised series of recordings for Virgin and for EMI (after its acquisition of the Virgin label) which included the complete Beethoven symphonies as well as orchestral works by Berlioz, Brahms, Bruckner, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Smetana, Weber and Wagner. Conductor and orchestra also toured widely, visiting Germany, France, Holland and Belgium, and in 1989 they appeared in the USA and at the Salzburg Festival.

Norrington’s research into original scores and into the size, seating and playing style of the orchestras of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has had a remarkable influence on the way music of this period is both perceived and performed. He has been particularly vigorous in his pursuit of reducing the amount of vibrato used by string players in symphony orchestras. ‘It’s one of my missions to make this way of playing freely available to any intelligent musician,’ he has commented in interview. He has appeared with many of the major orchestras of Europe and the USA as a guest conductor, suggesting different ways of performing the traditional symphonic repertoire. His permanent appointments have included those of chief conductor of the Bournemouth Sinfonietta (1985–1989) and chief conductor of the Orchestra of St Luke’s in New York, (1990–1994); he became chief conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1998 and of the Camerata Salzburg in the same year. In 2006 he took up the position of artistic adviser to the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, one of North America’s leading period performance groups. In England Norrington works closely with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he was principal guest conductor in the mid 1990s, and with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, which took over the work of the London Classical Players in 1997, the year in which he received a knighthood.

Norrington’s career has developed in an outward progression from musical specialist to acclaimed international maestro. He has effectively harnessed contemporary academic ideas of period performance to concerts and recordings in ways that have attracted wide interest and popular enthusiasm, and above all he has successfully bridged the potential divide between conducting orchestras that use period instruments and those that use modern ones, bringing new ideas to both. His discography accurately reflects all these progressions. While most of his recordings have many different points of interest, those of the complete Beethoven and Brahms symphonies are especially notable, as are his accounts of the Symphonies Nos 4 and 6 of Vaughan Williams. His operatic conducting is less fully represented on disc, but his accounts of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen are good examples of his strengths in this field.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Conductors, Naxos 8.558087–90).


Albums featuring this artist are available for download from ClassicsOnline.com
View by Role: Classical Artist | Conductor
Role: Classical Artist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 

Role: Conductor 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
BEETHOVEN, L. van: Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6, "Pastoral" (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.086
Orchestral
BEETHOVEN: Missa solemnis in D Major, Op. 123 SWR Klassik
CD93.006
Choral - Sacred
BEETHOVEN: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 SWR Klassik
CD93.084
Orchestral
BEETHOVEN: Symphonies Nos. 1-8 (fragments) with Commentary by Roger Norrington SWR Klassik
CD93.108
Spoken Commentary
BEETHOVEN: Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 SWR Klassik
CD93.085
Orchestral
BEETHOVEN: Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8 SWR Klassik
CD93.087
Orchestral
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9 SWR Klassik
CD93.088
Orchestral
BERLIOZ: Benvenuto Cellini SWR Klassik
CD93.105
Opera
BERLIOZ: L'Enfance du Christ SWR Klassik
CD93.091
Choral - Sacred
BERLIOZ: Symphony Fantastique, Op. 14 (2003) SWR Klassik
CD93.103
Orchestral
BRAHMS, J.: Deutsches Requiem (Ein) (Landshamer, Boesch, North German Radio Chorus, Stuttgart Radio Vocal Ensemble and Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.327
Choral - Sacred
BRAHMS, J.: Symphonies (Complete) (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.267
Orchestral
BRAHMS, J.: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (with introductions) (Norrington) (NTSC) SWR Klassik
93.903
Classical Concert
BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 3 (Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.217
Orchestral
BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 4 (Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.218
Orchestral
BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 6 (Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.219
Orchestral
BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 7 (South West German Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.243
Orchestral
BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 9 (original 1894 version, ed. L. Nowak) (Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.273
Orchestral
CHRISTMAS - The Musical Advent Calendar 2014 SWR Klassik
CD93.322
Orchestral, Concertos
DVORAK, A.: Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8 (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.277
Orchestral
ELGAR, E.: Enigma Variations / In the South / Introduction and Allegro (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.191
Orchestral
ELGAR: Symphony No. 1 in A-Flat Major, Op. 55 SWR Klassik
CD93.000
Orchestral
HAYDN, J.: Symphonies Nos. 93-104, "London Symphonies" (South West German Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.252
Orchestral
HAYDN: Symphony No. 104, "London" / SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 2 SWR Klassik
CD93.011
Orchestral
HOLST: Planets (The) / ELGAR: Serenade for String Orchestra, Op. 20 SWR Klassik
CD93.043
Orchestral
MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 1 in D Major, "Titan" (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.137
Orchestral
MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection" (Rubens, Vermillion, Leipzig Radio Choir, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.166
Orchestral
MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 4 (Komsi, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.164
Orchestral
MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 5 (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.165
Orchestral
MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 9 (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.244
Orchestral
MENDELSSOHN: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 5 SWR Klassik
CD93.132
Orchestral
MENDELSSOHN: Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 SWR Klassik
CD93.133
Orchestral
MOZART, W.A.: Great Operas (The) (13 DVD Box Set) (NTSC) Opus Arte
OA1131BD
Opera DVD
MOZART, W.A.: Symphonies (Essential), Vol. 1 (Norrington) - Nos. 1, 25, 41 SWR Klassik
CD93.211
Orchestral
MOZART, W.A.: Symphonies (Essential), Vol. 2 (Norrington) - Nos. 12, 29, 39 SWR Klassik
CD93.212
Orchestral
MOZART, W.A.: Symphonies (Essential), Vol. 3 (Norrington) - Nos. 8, 40 / Serenade No. 9, "Posthorn" (excerpts) SWR Klassik
CD93.213
Orchestral
MOZART, W.A.: Symphonies (Essential), Vol. 4 (Norrington) - Nos. 22, 33, 38 SWR Klassik
CD93.214
Orchestral
MOZART, W.A.: Symphonies (Essential), Vol. 6 (Norrington) - Nos. 28, 31, 32, 35 SWR Klassik
CD93.216
Orchestral
NORRINGTON, Roger: In Rehearsal (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
101070
Classical Concert
RIHM, W.: 2 Other Movements / Abkehr / Schattenstück (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington, Arming) SWR Klassik
SWR19001CD
Orchestral
SCHUBERT, F.: Symphonies Nos. 4, "Tragic", and 5 (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.288
Orchestral
SCHUBERT, F.: Symphonies Nos. 6 and 8 (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.298
Orchestral
SCHUBERT: Symphony in C Major, D. 944, "The Great" / Magic Harp (The), D. 644: Overture SWR Klassik
CD93.044
Orchestral
SCHUMANN, R.: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.160
Orchestral
SCHUMANN, R.: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4 (Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.161
Orchestral
TCHAIKOVSKY, P.: Symphony No. 5 / The Nutcracker Suite (South West German Radio Symphony, Norrington) SWR Klassik
CD93.254
Orchestral
TIPPETT, M.: King Priam (Kent Opera Studio Production, 1985) (Blu-ray Video with Hi-Res Audio) Arthaus Musik
109179
Opera DVD
TIPPETT, M.: King Priam (Kent Opera studio production, 1985) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
102087
Opera DVD
WAGNER: Symphonic Excerpts from Parsifal / TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6, "Pathetique" SWR Klassik
CD93.119
Orchestral





 
 
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