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HE GAVE UP MEDICINE FOR MUSIC

By a 'Mail' Correspondent

When the Boyd Neel String Orchestra opens its season in Adelaide on June 7, concert goers will hear one of the world's finest ensembles.

TN Sydney it gave 16 remarkable concerts in less than three weeks. Now it is in Melbourne, where it was booked for 10 , con certs, but is already arranging an extended season. The orchestra's overwhelming success began early in 1933, when Dr. Boyd Neel, a London physician, with a keen interest in music, called at the Royal College and the Academy asking for first-class instrumental students to form a string orchestra. The plan was to combine the perfection of ensemble of a string quartet with the tonal resources of the string section of a sym phony orchestra. Seventeen players were chosen from the rush of volunteers, and it was agreed to rehearse to gether every Sunday morning for six months, and then give a concert. If it was a success, they would continue — if not, well, they would shake hands and bid one another goodbye. There were no farewell hand shakes. The morning after the concert there were B.B.C. and re cording contracts waiting — and thus was born one of the world's finest string ensambles. Dr. Boyd Neel — the physician who loves music — abandoned medi cine to devote his full time to the orchestra. In the years preceding the outbreak of war the ensemble made an international reputation. In 1937 they were invited to play at the Mozart Festival at Salzburg (Austria). When war broke out, the entire personnel of the or chestra, with- an average age of 21 years, were caUed up for ser

vice. Dr. Boyd Neel returned to medicine, making and fitting artificial limbs. Then the Admiralty suggested that he give lectures on music as part of a Navy education scheme, and in this capacity he travelled Erom the Mediterranean to the Ad riatic, and from one minesweeper to another. Then E.N.S.A. and C.E.M.A. got busy, and the orchestra was re formed with its original personnel, except for two violinists, Alan Bartlett and Douglas Thompson, who were killed in the war. Dr. Bo3rd Neel divided his time between conducting opera for Sad ler's Wells — he had already con ducted the first performance at Glyndbourne — and tourine with the orchestra throughout England and Scotland, giving concerts for the services, and in remote places for industrial workers and evacuees. Vast Repertoire The orchestra still plays at those factory music clubs and similar institutions. It has a vast repertoire of about 600 works, including al most the complete repertory of modern compositions for strings — most of which works have been dedicated to this orchestra. The Boyd Neel String Orchestra is appearing in Australia under the auspices of the British Council, a body which exists tp strengthen cultural relations between Britain and the rest of the world. So de termined was the council to get the orchestra to Australia that, when lack of shipping threatened to interfere with the tour, it flew the players to Sydney.

He Wanted To Wave a Stick

British conductor Warwick Braithwaite, who will conduct the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in the Adelaide Town Hall next Saturday, was born in 1896, in Dunedin (New Zealand), was the twentieth child

of a family of 22.

T-TIS father, book pub lisher and music lover, reckoned that, his family was large enough to form an amateur opera company. Soon they were giving Gilbert and Sul livan shows be fore friends and relatives in the large concert room of father Bra it hwaite's 20-room Dune din home. Warwick was the one-man or chestra — he played the piano. At four, War wick had seen a performance of Wagner's opera 'Loh e n g rin.'

decided the man who waved the slick' had the kind of job he liked, so decided to become a con ductor. Years later he studied composi tion and piano at London's Royal Academy of Music. He became conductor of the British National Opera Coy., with which he toured provincial towns; for nine years was musical direc

BRAITHWAITE . . ♦ made up mind when young.

BRAITHWAITE . . ♦ made up mind when young.

tor of the B.B.C. Western Regional slation at Car diff. When rehears ing the Italian opera 'Tosca,' early in 1940 in London, he got into trouble through having the 'bells of Rome' rung in the orchestra. Two police men stopped the rehearsal, said people living in the neighbor hood might mis take the ring ing of the bells for a signal that tbe invasion was on. Eve n t u ally Police Head quarters gave him permission to go ahead,

bells and all, but to maKe sure the audience wouldn't panic, several policemen were posted near the theatre exit. Braithwaite's own opera, 'The Pendragon,' dealing with the legend of the coming of King Arthur, hasn't yet been performed, but he hopes it will be played soon, he has already completed the first two scenes of another opera.

li/^JTHJN the next few weeks Adelaide will be visited by two *' distinguished British musicians — Dr. Boyd Neel, conductor and originator of the Boyd IS eel String. Orchestra, and Warwick Braithwaite, New Zealand-born conductor, who will appear with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Here are pen pictures of these r two outstanding musicians. ... y -

BOYD NEEL . ♦ . formed one of ^world's best string orchestras.

BOYD NEEL . ♦ . formed one of ^world's best string orchestras.

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