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Albert Coates

Background information
Born April 23, 1882
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died December 11, 1953 (age 71)
Milnerton, Cape Town, South Africa
Genres Classical
Occupations Conductor, composer
Associated acts London Symphony Orchestra
Rochester Philharmonic

Albert Coates (April 23, 1882 – December 11, 1953) was an Anglo-Russian conductor and composer.

Coates was born in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, the youngest of seven sons of an English father and a Russian mother.

He learned the violin, cello and piano as a child. From 12, he was raised in England, and studied science in Liverpool university. [1] Then he returned to Russia and studied compostion with Rimsky-Korsakov. He studied at the conservatory in Leipzig, where his greatest teacher was Artur Nikisch. He was appointed that conductor's repetiteur at the Leipzig opera and debuted as a conductor in 1904 with Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffmann". He worked at Semperoper Dresden 1907-8, with Bodanzky at Mannheim in 1909, and from 1910 conducted with Eduard Nápravník at Saint Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre[2]. He escaped with considerable difficulty from Russia in April 1919.

He made his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1914 with Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. Dynamic in his approach and especially successful in Russian music, he introduced many new works to audiences, including pieces by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arnold Bax and Alexander Scriabin, and, perhaps most notably, led the first complete London public performance of The Planets by Gustav Holst.

He headed the London Symphony Orchestra 1919-21[3] and from then through the early 1930s he frequently worked with that orchestra. He made important early contributions to the representation of orchestral music on the gramophone, beginning in 1920 with Scriabin's Poème de l'Extase and afterwards conducting many excerpts from Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen and (in 1925) the complete Symphony No. 9 of Beethoven. He was the conductor for the 1930 premiere recording of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, with Vladimir Horowitz as soloist.

In 1924-25 Coates shared conducting duties of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra with Eugene Goossens and was present at the birth of Vladimir Rosing's pioneering American Opera Company.

In 1925 he gave the first stage performance outside Russia of Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Invisible City of Kitezh.

His compositions include the operas Samuel Pepys and Pickwick, a piano concerto and a symphonic poem The Eagle, dedicated to the memory of his former teacher Artur Nikisch, which was performed in Leeds in 1925.

On November 13, 1936 the BBC broadcast the world's first televised opera, Coates' Pickwick, directed by Vladimir Rosing. Coates and Rosing launched a season of the British Music Drama Opera Company at Covent Garden the following week.

He made regular appearances in many of the world's artistic centres until 1939[4]. When World War II broke out, Coates moved to Southern California. There he founded the Southern California Opera Association with Vladimir Rosing. A number of productions were mounted in conjunction with the W.P.A, among them Coates' opera Gainsborough's Duchess.

In 1946 he settled in Milnerton, Cape Town, South Africa, with his wife Vera de Villiers. He died there in 1953.

Albert Coates is the brother of Eric Coates, the English light music composer, and the uncle of the tenor singer John Coates.

References

  1. ^ Albert Coates: Great Conductors of the Twentieth Century series. CD sleevenote: EMI 2002
  2. ^ Albert Coates: Great Conductors of the Twentieth Century series. CD sleevenote: EMI 2002
  3. ^ Albert Coates: Great Conductors of the Twentieth Century series. CD sleevenote: EMI 2002
  4. ^ Albert Coates: Great Conductors of the Twentieth Century series. CD sleevenote: EMI 2002

External links

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