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Alexander Gibson (conductor): Wikis

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Sir Alexander Gibson, CBE (11 February 1926 – 14 January 1995) was a conductor and opera intendant.

Gibson was born in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland, and studied music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, as well as in London, Salzburg and Siena, Italy. At the time of his appointment in 1957 as musical director of Sadler's Wells, he was the youngest ever to have taken that position.

Returning to Glasgow, in 1959 he became the first Scottish principal conductor and artistic director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, a post he held until 1984, to date longer than any other conductor. From 1981 to 1983 he was also principal guest conductor of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He was principal conductor of the Guildford Philharmonic.

Gibson founded Scottish Opera in 1962 and was music director until 1986. Through his artistic achievements the Theatre Royal, Glasgow was bought from Scottish Television and transformed in 1975 as the home theatre of Scottish Opera and of Scottish Ballet, and the first national opera house in Scotland. In 1987, Gibson was appointed conductor laureate of Scottish Opera and held this title for the remainder of his life.

He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1967, was knighted in 1977 and became president of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where in his memory, the Alexander Gibson School of Opera was opened in 1998. It was the first purpose-built opera school in Great Britain.

Gibson had a particular affinity for Scandinavian music, particularly Jean Sibelius, whose work he recorded several times, and Carl Nielsen.

Alexander Gibson died from complications following a heart attack. He was 68.

Gibson is also commemorated by a bust in foyer of the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, home of Scottish Opera.

Sources

  • New York Times
  • Scottish Opera - the first ten years by Conrad Wilson, 1972 ISBN 0 00 410584 2
  • It's a Curious Story - The Tale of Scottish Opera 1962-1987 by Cordelia Oliver, 1987 ISBN 1 851580662
  • Alex - the Authorised Biography by Conrad Wilson, 1993 ISBN 1 85158 574 5
  • The Theatre Royal : Entertaining a Nation by Graeme Smith, 2008 ISBN 978 0955942006

Alexander had a son called James who then had a son called Samuel.

External links

Cultural offices
Preceded by
James Robertson
Music Director, Sadler's Wells
1957–1959
Succeeded by
Colin Davis
Preceded by
none
Music Director, Scottish Opera
1962–1986
Succeeded by
John Mauceri
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