My Tribute to Czech Music and Mozart Authority, Charles Mackerras

For those who witnessed the opening concert at the Sydney Opera House with Charles Mackerras, it was a mournful evening. An authority on Czech Music and Mozart, the Australian conductor Sir Charles Mackerras died in London. He was 84.

It was the same man who became the first non-Briton to conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra. It was in 1980s in wake of the Last Night of the Proms.

He was born in New York in 1925 to Australian parents. Went to Australia for studying oboe and piano at the New South Wales Conservatorium. Thereafter, he went to Prague and was known as an authority on both Czech music, particularly Janáček, and Mozart.

Recognized for his pioneering efforts, it was he who delivered first London performance of Janáček’s Katya Kabanova in 1951. The venue was at Sadler’s Wells. He also went on to become musical director of Sadler’s Wells.
His high stature in music can be ascertained with the fact that he conducted 26 operas at Covent Garden, by 15 different composers.

Mackerras had a long association with the Sydney Symphony since he remained the principal oboist in 1946. Also its chief conductor in 1973, he was knighted in 1979.

My tribute to Sir Charles Mackerras, an eminent conductor and a special part of the Sydney Symphony family. He will be loved through the generations to come.

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