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Henry Wood
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Conductor
    (March 3, 1869-August 19, 1944)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Organist and conductor
    Best known for conducting a series of promenade concerts at Queen's Hall (1894-1941) and the Royal Albert Hall (1941-44)
    Composed the oratorio 'St. Dorothea' (1889), the comic opera 'Returning the Compliment' (1890) and 'Fantasia on British Sea Songs' (1903)
    Wrote 'My Life of Music' (1938)
    Knighted (1911)
    He gave singing lessons throughout his career, even though he admitted 'I possess a terrible voice.'
    He married one of his pupils, Olga Michailoff.
    After Olga's death and his remarriage, he had an affair with another student, Jessie Goldsack.
    A later biographer described his memoirs as 'vivacious in style, but not factually reliable.'
    He was known for his clear and expressive conducting, with one violinst declaring, 'You can't possibly go wrong with that stick in front of you.'
    He was the first British conductor to have the orchestra stand to receive applause along with the conductor.
    He declined offers to become the conductor of the New York Philharmonic (1911) and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1917) because he felt he had a duty to promote classical music in Britain.
    He gave the British premier of 717 works by 357 composers.
    Hard-to-please Arnold Schoenberg called him 'a perfect musician, a great educator, a great benefactor of music and a most charming gentleman.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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