Dr Raymond Holden: Public Lecture

Dr Raymond Holden: Public Lecture

The Iconic Symphony: Conducting Beethoven's Ninth Symphony Wagner's Way

Wagner’s approach to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was seminal to the performance styles of later conductors, such as Hans von Bülow, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Otto Klemperer and Sir Charles Mackerras. In this, the bicentennial year of Wagner’s birth, Raymond Holden will investigate the effect of his approach to the Ninth Symphony on subsequent conductors with the aid of their marked scores, sound documents and other performance artefacts.

Dr Raymond Holden Hon ARAM


Dr Raymond Holden was born in Sydney, Australia, and was educated at the Sydney Conservatorium and at the University of London. Between 1978 and 1989, Dr Holden was assistant to Sir John Pritchard, for whom he acted as assistant and associate conductor with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia and the Brussels Opera. In that capacity, he performed at the Proms, the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Winter Season at the Royal Festival Hall, the Salzburg Festival, the Edinburgh Festival and the City of London Festival. As Sir John’s assistant, Dr Holden’s repertoire included multiple performances of Strauss’ tone poems, Mahler’s symphonies, Berlioz’ Requiem, Ives’ Symphony No. 4, Schoenberg’s Moses and Aaron, many new works and operas from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Dr Holden was the Australian representative at the 7th Nicolai Malko International Conducting Competition with the Danish Radio Orchestra and conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the New Symphony Orchestra of London, the Wren Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Emilia-Romagna. He conducted at the Montepulciano Festival, where he gave the Italian premieres of works by Rihm and Saxton, was Music Director of the Westminster Camerata and has worked extensively with leading British choirs.

Dr Holden is in great demand as a lecturer and has spoken at universities, conservatoires, conferences and research institutes throughout Great Britain, Europe, Australia, South Africa and South East Asia, including The Institute of Historical Research (University of London), The Institute for Advanced Musical Studies (King’s College, University of London), Goldsmiths’ College (University of London), the Royal Academy of Music, The University of Sheffield, The University of Oxford, Monash University (Melbourne), The University of New South Wales, The Australian National University, the Sydney Conservatorium (University of Sydney), the 16th Congress of the International Musicological Society, the Norwegian State Academy of Music, the Richard Strauss Institut (Garmisch-Partenkirchen), the University of Stellenbosch, the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (Singapore) and the Sibelius Academy (Helsinki).

As a performance historian, he specializes in the activities of conductors from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and has established a reputation as a leading Strauss scholar. He has published with the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Macmillan), Music & Letters (OUP), Performance Practice Review (USA), Hillandale News, Richard Strauss-Blätter (Hans Schneider Verlag, Wien), EMI Records (UK), Richard Strauss Jahrbuch (Hans Schneider Verlag, Vienna) and Studien und Berichte (Internationale Bruckner Gesellschaft, Wien).

He is music advisor and multiple contributor to Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP), has written two chapters for the Cambridge Companion to Conducting (CUP) and a chapter for the Cambridge Companion to Richard Strauss (CUP) and has published the critically acclaimed books The Virtuoso Conductors (Yale University Press, 2005), Glorious John (The Barbirolli Society, 2007) and Richard Strauss: a Musical Life (Yale University Press, 2011).

Raymond Holden is The Sir John Barbirolli Lecturer in Music at the Royal Academy of Music, where he teaches on the undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral programmes, organizes and presents The Barbirolli Lectures (interviewees have included Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Neville Marriner, Dame Felicity Lott, Dame Janet Baker, Leon Fleisher, Paul Badura-Skoda and Jonathan Del Mar) and The Henry Wood Lecture-Recitals (collaborators have included Paul Silverthorne, Michael Thompson and Daniel-Ben Pienaar) and coordinates research into the Academy’s extensive collections.

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