Sir Roger Norrington
Sir Roger Norrington is a native of Oxford, England, where
he came from a University family with strong musical connections. He was a talented boy
soprano, studied the violin from the age of ten, and singing from 17, but his higher
education was in English Literature at Cambridge. After several years' experience as a
violinist, tenor and conductor, he returned to his studied at the Royal College of Music
under Sir Adrian Boult.
In 1962, he founded the Schütz Choir and thus began a 30
year exploration of historical performance practice. With the Choir, he gave many
innovative concerts and made numerous recordings for Argo / Decca, mainly of 17th and 19th
century repertoire. Such performances were at first accompanied by the London Baroque
Players, but as the period of rediscovery moved forward, the London classical Players
became the normal partner. When Norrington reached the era of the symphony in his
researches, the LCP took on a life of its own and the Schütz Choir went into
The LCP leapt to world-wide renown, with Norrington's
dramatic performances of the Beethoven sympho9nies on period instruments. The recordings
of these for EMI won prizes in the UK, Germany, Belgium and the United States, and are
still among the most sought after readings of modern times.
Many other ground-breaking recordings followed, not only of
Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven but of a stream of 19th century masters: Berlioz, Weber,
Schubert, Mendelssohn, Rossini, Schumann, which carried the research forward into the
Romantic Movement. Most recently remarkable recordings of Brahms' 4 Symphonies, of Wagner,
Bruckner and Smetana have moved the boundaries even further
Norrington's work on scores, on sound, on orchestra size,
seating and playing style has had a profound effect on the way 19th century music is now
perceived, and not surprisingly, he is in great demand by symphony orchestras world-wide.
He works regularly with orchestras in Berlin, Vienna, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Paris, New
York, Radio Sinfonie Orchester in Stuttgart and of the Camerata Academica in Salzburg. He
is closely associated with the London Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the Age of
Englightenment, which has, sine January 1997, taken over the work of the London Classical
For ten years, Norrington was an exclusive EMI artist. Now,
again, he has a major contract with Decca, but also records for Sony and BMG, as well as
EMI and Virgin Classics. He is currently recording a complete cycle of Vaughan Williams
Symphonies with the London Philharmonic for Decca.
Norrington's opera experience is as wide as that with
Symphony Orchestras, Choirs and Chamber Orchestras. For 15 years, he was Music Director of
the very successful Kent Opera, where he conducted over 400 performances of 40 different
works. He has worked as a guest in Britain at Covent Garden and the English National Opera
and in Italy at La Scala, La Fenice and the Maggio Musicale. He has also received
invitations to conduct operas in Vienna, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam.
Norrington was knighted in June 1997 and is Commander of
the Order of the British Empire, a Cavaliere of the Italian Republic, Prince consort
professor of the Royal College of Music, an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music,
an Honorary Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, a Doctor of Music at the University of
Kent and a Doctor of the University of York. He lives in the Berkshire countryside with
his choreographer wife and small son.