For many years, while conducting Prokofiev’s music in countries all over the world, I have been made increasingly aware of the eagerness of music lovers to learn more about this great composer whose achievements have enriched the lives of so many of us.
It is the wish to satisfy this desire and the hope of extending the love and understanding of Prokofiev’s music to an ever wider circle of music lovers that has prompted us to inaugurate this Association. In setting up the Prokofiev Association we shall also be honouring the memory of his wife Lina who, after her husband’s death in 1953, spent the rest of her life fighting for the propagation and protection of his music. All lovers of Prokofiev’s music owe her an enormous debt.
Born in Birmingham, Sir Edward studied and worked with Hermann Scherchen. In 1952 he joined the Royal Opera at Covent Garden where he remained a company member for seventeen years. He then returned as a guest every year and in 1991 became Associate Music Director. Over the past 49 seasons there, he has conducted 46 different operas in over 900 performances.
He has had a 33 year relationship with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, first as Chief Guest Conductor, then Principal Conductor (1980-1991) and now as Conductor Emeritus. He has toured all over the world with the orchestra as well as conducting concerts and recording in this country.
In 1970 he became Music Director of the Australian Opera and opened the Sydney Opera House in 1972 with a performance of War and Peace. He was Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Orchestra until 1983 and travels widely as a guest conductor to opera houses and orchestras.
He has been honoured by three music colleges and five universities as well as receiving the Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics Circle and Royal Philharmonic Society awards. He became a CBE in 1986 and was knighted in 1991.
The foremost conductor of Prokofiev's music of his generation, Sir Edward completed the score of Prokofiev's early opera Maddalena, and conducted its first performance with the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra in 1978. In 1994 he made the first recording for Chandos of Prokofiev's complete incidental music to Eugene Onegin.