James Loughran

Scottish conductor James Loughran was born on 30 June 1931 in Glasgow, where he studied. He became a répétiteur at Bonn Opera, Netherlands Opera and in Milan. He won the 1961 Philharmonia Orchestra's conductor competition and began his conducting career with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, working with the orchestra's chief conductor Constantin Silvestri.

He first appeared at Covent Garden in 1964, conducting Aida, and then Britten invited him to be music director of the English Opera Group.

From 1965 until 1971 Loughran was chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He was principal conductor of The Hallé Orchestra (1971-1983) and then the orchestra's conductor laureate (1983-1991). He is remembered for broadening the orchestra's touring schedule and for introducing several contemporary works to Manchester, including John McCabe's The Chagall Windows.

He became the first British conductor to take charge of a major German orchestra when he worked as principal conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra (1979-1983). Later he was principal conductor of the Aarhus Symfoniorkester in Denmark (1996-2003).

He was appointed to many guest conductor positions, including with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.

His recordings include Holst's The Planets with the Hallé Orchestra for EMI, a complete 1970 cycle of Beethoven symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra and the first commercial recording of music by Havergal Brian - the composer's Symphony No 10 with the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra.

James Loughran died in Bearsden, near Glasgow, on 19 June 2024, aged ninety-two.


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