John Amis at a Critics' Circle luncheon, April 2010
|Born||John Preston Amis|
17 June 1922
|Died||1 August 2013 91)(aged|
John Preston Amis (17 June 1922 – 1 August 2013) was a British broadcaster, classical music critic, music administrator, and writer. He was a frequent contributor for The Guardian and to BBC radio and television music programming.
The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.
Born in Dulwich, London to a banking family, and a cousin of the novelist Kingsley Amis, Amis was educated at Dulwich College, where he began a lifelong friendship with his contemporary, Donald Swann. A serious bout of mastoiditis as a child left him deaf in his left ear. He began his career working in a bank for five and a half weeks before leaving to earn a living in music. Amis had a number of roles, including gramophone record salesman, and orchestra manager (at one point turning pages for Dame Myra Hess during the wartime concerts at the National Gallery.), before becoming a music critic, initially with The Scotsman in 1946. He was for several years manager for Sir Thomas Beecham, and also worked for the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Dulwich is an area of south London, England. The settlement is mostly in the London Borough of Southwark, with parts in the London Borough of Lambeth, and consists of Dulwich Village, East Dulwich, West Dulwich and the Southwark half of Herne Hill. Dulwich lies in a valley between the neighbouring districts of Camberwell, Crystal Palace, Denmark Hill, Forest Hill, Peckham, Sydenham Hill and Tulse Hill and was in Surrey until 1889, when the County of London was set up.
Sir Kingsley William Amis, was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. He wrote more than 20 novels, six volumes of poetry, a memoir, various short stories, radio and television scripts, along with works of social and literary criticism. According to his biographer, Zachary Leader, Amis was "the finest English comic novelist of the second half of the twentieth century." He is the father of British novelist Martin Amis. In 2008, The Times ranked him ninth on a list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
Dulwich College is a 2–19 independent, day and boarding school for boys in Dulwich, London, England. It was founded in 1619 by Edward Alleyn, an Elizabethan actor, with the original purpose of educating 12 poor scholars as the foundation of 'God's Gift'.
In 1948, William Glock invited Amis to run a summer school for musicians at Bryanston School, Dorset. The summer school moved to Dartington in 1953. Amis remained administrative director until 1981, during which time he brought to the school a long line of international musicians, amongst them Paul Hindemith, Igor Stravinsky, and Sir Michael Tippett.
Sir William Frederick Glock, CBE was a British music critic and musical administrator who enlivened Britain's post-war musical life by introducing the Continental avant-garde, notably promoting the career of Pierre Boulez.
Bryanston School is a co-educational independent school for both day and boarding pupils, located next to the village of Bryanston, and near the town of Blandford Forum, in Dorset in South West England. It was founded in 1928. It occupies a palatial country house designed and built in 1889–94 by Richard Norman Shaw, the champion of a renewed academic tradition, for Viscount Portman, the owner of large tracts in the West End of London, in the early version of neo-Georgian style that Sir Edwin Lutyens called "Wrenaissance", to replace an earlier house, and is set in 400 acres (1.6 km2).
Dartington International Summer School is a summer school and festival of music held on the medieval estate of Dartington Hall and is a department of the Dartington Hall Trust. First established at Bryanston School in 1948, the summer school moved to Dartington in 1953. It caters for anyone who wants to enjoy music from conservatoire students and young professionals to enthusiastic amateurs and late starters. Internationally renowned musicians teach and direct the courses and perform concerts in the evenings, with some courses working towards student performances at the end of the week. The summer school is unique in catering for young professionals and amateurs alongside each other in such a large range of courses. Although predominantly classical music, from early through to contemporary, other genres such as digital, world, jazz and folk are also covered. Artists and participants stay in accommodation on the Dartington Estate, with concerts taking place mainly in the old medieval banqueting hall now known as the Great Hall, and classes being taught around the medieval courtyard and in the studio buildings that used to be part of Dartington College of Arts.
Amis' short career as a tenor began with the role of Ishmael in the 1967 recording of Bernard Herrmann's cantata Moby-Dick . He made his operatic debut in 1990 as the Emperor in Turandot .Amis had started singing in earnest after 1959: in that year he attended Professor Frederick Husler's s singing class at Dartington 'just for fun', and was told not only that he had the makings of a Heldentenor , but that he ought to go to Germany to study.
A tenor is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the countertenor and baritone voice types. It is one of the highest of the male voice types. The tenor's vocal range extends up to C5. The low extreme for tenors is roughly A♭2 (two A♭s below middle C). At the highest extreme, some tenors can sing up to the second F above middle C (F5). The tenor voice type is generally divided into the leggero tenor, lyric tenor, spinto tenor, dramatic tenor, heldentenor, and tenor buffo or spieltenor.
Bernard Herrmann was an American composer best known for his work in composing for motion pictures. As a conductor, he championed the music of lesser-known composers.
A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir.
From the 1950s onwards, Amis became a regular contributor to BBC Radio's music output, and worked on BBC Television from 1961, producing and presenting documentaries, and introducing the BBC2 magazine programme Music Now. As a broadcaster, he is probably best known for his appearances as a team member, from 1974 to 1994, on the BBC Radio 4 panel show, My Music , also appearing in the television version. It was on this show that he disclosed an unexpected talent as a skilled siffleur. His own radio show on Radio 3 interviewed musicians and contemporary witnesses such as Sir Isaiah Berlin.For many years he wrote a column on music in The Tablet, England's best-known Catholic magazine.
BBC Radio is an operational business division and service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The service provides national radio stations covering the majority of musical genres, as well as local radio stations covering local news, affairs and interests. It also oversees online audio content.
BBC Radio 4 is a radio station owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is Gwyneth Williams, and the station is part of BBC Radio and the BBC Radio department. The station is broadcast from the BBC's headquarters at Broadcasting House, London. On 21 January 2019 Williams announced she was quitting the role. There are no details of when or who will be her replacement.
BBC Radio 3 is a British radio station operated by the BBC. Its output centres on classical music and opera, but jazz, world music, drama, culture and the arts also feature. The station describes itself as 'the world's most significant commissioner of new music', and through its New Generation Artists scheme promotes young musicians of all nationalities. The station broadcasts the BBC Proms concerts, live and in full, each summer in addition to performances by the BBC Orchestras and Singers. There are regular productions of both classic plays and newly commissioned drama.
His friends in the music industry included Noel Mewton-Wood and Felix Aprahamian, for whom he wrote a tribute following Aprahamian's death in January 2005.He was also closely associated with Gerard Hoffnung and organized many of Hoffnung's concerts until the latter's death in 1959; he performed a comic duet from The Barber of Darmstadt with Owen Brannigan at the 1961 Hoffnung Festival.
Noel Mewton-Wood was an Australian-born concert pianist who achieved international fame on the basis of many distinguished concerto recordings during his short life.
Felix Aprahamian, born Apraham Felix Bartev Aprahamian, was an English music critic, writer, concert promoter, publisher's adviser, supporter of young musicians, and friend to some of the last century's most notable musicians. Aprahamian, however, usually described himself as a music critic.
Gerard Hoffnung was an artist and musician, best known for his humorous works.
Amis wrote a number of books, on his own Amiscellany imprint,with titles including My Music in London: 1945-2000. Amis spent much of his time giving talks and one-man shows, after dinner speeches and concert works. Amis was a patron of the Music Libraries Trust and the Tait Memorial Trust, and a vice-president of the Putney Music society.
In June 1948, Amis married the violinist Olive Zorian,founder of the Zorian String Quartet. The marriage was dissolved in 1955 and Zorian died in 1965. He was survived by his partner for his last six years, Isla Baring OAM, Chairman of the Tait Memorial Trust of which he was a Patron. He once said that she gave him his "Indian summer". His funeral was held on 20 August 2013 at the Musicians' Church, St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in London.
Tulse Hill is a district in the London Borough of Lambeth in south London, England. It lies to the south of Brixton, east of Brixton Hill, north of West Norwood and west of West Dulwich.
Dartington Hall in Dartington, near Totnes, Devon, England, is a country estate that is the headquarters of the Dartington Hall Trust, a charity specialising in the arts, social justice and sustainability. The estate dates from mediaeval times.
Donald Ibrahím Swann was a Welsh-born composer, musician, singer and entertainer. He was one half of Flanders and Swann, writing and performing comic songs with Michael Flanders.
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies was an English composer and conductor. In 2004 he was made Master of the Queen's Music.
Sebastian Charles Faulks, is an English novelist, journalist and broadcaster. He is best known for his historical novels set in France – The Girl at the Lion d'Or, Birdsong and Charlotte Gray. He has also published novels with a contemporary setting, most recently A Week in December (2009) and Paris Echo, (2018) and a James Bond continuation novel, Devil May Care (2008), as well as a continuation of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves series, Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (2013). He was a team captain on BBC Radio 4 literary quiz The Write Stuff.
Sir James Loy MacMillan, CBE is a Scottish classical composer and conductor.
The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are literary prizes awarded for literature written in the English language. They, along with the Hawthornden Prize, are Britain's oldest literary awards. Based at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, United Kingdom, the prizes were founded in 1919 by Mrs Janet Coats Black in memory of her late husband, James Tait Black, a partner in the publishing house of A & C Black Ltd. Prizes are awarded in three categories: Fiction, Biography and Drama.
Stuart Maconie is an English radio DJ and television presenter, writer, journalist, and critic working in the field of pop music and popular culture. He is currently a presenter on BBC Radio 6 Music, where he hosts the weekend breakfast show, alongside Mark Radcliffe, which broadcasts from the BBC's MediaCityUK in Salford. The pair had previously presented an evening show on BBC Radio 2 and the weekday afternoon show for BBC Radio 6 Music.
Nitin Sawhney is a British Indian musician, producer and composer. A recipient of the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement award in 2017, his work combines Asian and other worldwide influences with elements of jazz and electronica and often explores themes such as multiculturalism, politics, and spirituality. Sawhney is also active in the promotion of arts and cultural matters, and is a patron of numerous film festivals, venues, and educational institutions.
Sir Nicholas Roger Kenyon CBE is an English music administrator, editor and writer on music. He was responsible for the BBC Proms in 1996–2007, after which he was appointed Managing Director of the Barbican Centre.
Ian Bryce Wallace OBE was an English bass-baritone opera and concert singer, actor and broadcaster of Scottish extraction.
Julian Gavin is an Australian-born British operatic tenor who has sung leading roles both in the United Kingdom and internationally. His full-length opera recordings include Don José in Carmen and the title roles in Ernani and Don Carlos for Chandos Records.
The Tait Memorial Trust [TMT] is a charitable foundation, first established in the United Kingdom, with the chief purpose of providing financial support to outstanding young performing artists from Australia and New Zealand who wish to pursue post-graduate studies in leading performing arts institutions or privately with internationally recognised teachers in the United Kingdom. It also offers performance opportunities in their many concerts and events in London and advice and mentoring to awardees. The TMT was founded by Isla Baring OAM in memory of her father, Sir Frank Tait and his brothers, who played such an important part in the establishment of theatre and the performing arts in Australia. Sir Frank Tait's management, who being the youngest of the Tait brothers, carried the firm J. C. Williamson's into their most successful years dominated by the Sutherland-Williamson opera company in 1965 which brought Dame Joan Sutherland back to her homeland.
Eleanor Catherine Warren MBE or Eleanor Catherine Rutherford Warren was a British cellist and music producer.
String Quartet No. 2 in C major, Op. 36, by English composer Benjamin Britten (1913–76), was written in 1945. It was composed in Snape, Suffolk and London, and completed on 14 October. The first performance was by the Zorian Quartet in the Wigmore Hall, London on 21 November 1945, in a concert to mark the exact 250th anniversary of the death of English composer Henry Purcell (1659–95). The work was commissioned by and is dedicated to Mary Behrend, a patron of the arts; Britten donated most of his fee towards famine relief in India.
Olive Nevart Zorian was an English classical violinist.
John Gilhooly OBE OSI is an artistic director and arts administrator. Since 2000 he has been Executive Director of Wigmore Hall. In 2005 he became Artistic and Executive Director of Wigmore Hall. Gilhooly is also (voluntary) chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society a registered UK charity and one of the oldest music societies in the world. He has held this office since 2010. Gilhooly is also a frequent juror in international competitions. In June 2019 he will chair the BBC Cardiff Singer of The World Song Competition. He chairs the Wigmore Hall international Song Competition and chaired the 2018 Wigmore Hall String Quartet Competition. Gilhooly undertakes a large amount of voluntary work in music and the arts and is associated with many arts charities. He has served as Chairman of Mahogany Opera Group and holds a number of Honorary Patronages including Leeds Lieder, The Chopin Society, Irish Heritage and The Cavatina Chamber Music Trust. He was also Patron of the refurbishment of Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church, Covent Garden. He is a trustee of the International Musicians’ Seminar, Cornwall, a trustee of The Susan Chilcott Scholarship and an advisor to London Music Masters. He is Patron of Wimbledon Music Festival and a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. He has held advisory roles with Cheltenham Festival and the Dartington Trust. He is a former director of the British Assocation of Concert Halls.