John Arthur Lanchbery OBE (15 May 1923 – 27 February 2003) was an English-Australian composer and conductor, famous for his ballet arrangements. He served as the Principal Conductor of the Royal Ballet from 1959 to 1972, Principal Conductor of the Australian Ballet from 1972 to 1977, and Musical Director of the American Ballet Theatre from 1978 to 1980.    He continued to conduct regularly for the Royal Ballet until 2001. 
Lanchbery was widely considered (including by Nureyev) to be the greatest ballet conductor of his time,  and to be ‘a conductor and music director of unmatched experience’ who was ‘directly responsible for raising the status and the standards of musical performance'.  Maina Gielgud, Artistic Director of Australian Ballet, stated that "He [Lanchbery] is not only the finest conductor for dance of his generation and probably well beyond".  One critic wrote that ‘the music was always on its best behaviour’ when Lanchbery was conducting.  He was also famous for his re-adaptation of canonical works.  
Lanchbery was born in London on 15 May 1923, where he began violin lessons and music composition when he was eight years of age.   He was educated at Alleyn's School,  where he formed a collaborative partnership with Peter Stanley Lyons  who was later a famous chorister, and with Kenneth Spring who was the founder of the National Youth Theatre and whose composer mother encouraged Lanchbery's musical talent.  Lanchbery was in 1942 awarded the Henry Smart Composition Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied under Sir Henry Wood until his studies were interrupted by the war, during which he served in the Royal Armoured Corps, after which Lanchbery returned to the RAM to study for two more years before he returned to Alleyn's School as a music master. He was declined the job of Alleyn's School's Director of Music, and subsequently worked for a music publisher.  
Lanchbery was recommended to apply for the post of Conductor of the Metropolitan Ballet.  He obtained the position and made his debut with them at Edinburgh in 1948.  Two years later the orchestra collapsed for lack of funds. However, working with choreographer Celia Franca, Lanchbery wrote The Eve of St Agnes (the story was based on John Keats' poem of the same name), one of the first commissioned ballets to be shown on BBC television.  He composed film scores for Eric Robinson  before joining the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet (later the Royal Ballet touring company) in 1951, with whom he proceeded to orchestrate, in 1953, the first professional ballet choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan: Somnambulism whose music was composed with music by Stan Kenton. Lanchbery also orchestrated The House of Birds (La Casa de los Pájaros) in 1955, with original music by Federico Mompou.
He served as Principal Conductor of the Royal Ballet from 1959 from 1972.  He arranged La fille mal gardée (original music by Ferdinand Hérold and others), to choreography by Frederick Ashton, for the Royal Ballet in 1960. Lanchbery's re-working also included some Donizetti and much of his own invention.  This work includes the famous Clog Dance used for many years as a theme tune for Home This Afternoon on BBC radio. 
In addition to the revenue from his recordings, Lanchbery had his income supplemented by the copyright he earned from his orchestral arrangements, which were used by ballet companies all over the world. With Ashton, he composed The Two Pigeons; A Month in the Country; and The Dream, one of the most critically acclaimed ballet versions of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
In 1966 Rudolf Nureyev asked Lanchbery to re-write Ludwig Minkus's Don Quixote .
Although he resigned from the position of Director of the Royal Ballet in 1972, he continued to conduct regularly for the company until 2001. 
Notable successes for Lanchbery included the arrangement of the Liszt music for Kenneth MacMillan's stormy multi-act Mayerling, which premiered at Covent Garden in 1978, and the arrangement of the Franz Lehár score for the first full-length ballet production of The Merry Widow for the Australian Ballet in 1976. In 1970 he arranged the score for the ballet film The Tales of Beatrix Potter .  His sources were many and varied, including the operas of Michael William Balfe and Arthur Sullivan.  He also arranged the music and conducted the orchestra for Nijinsky in 1980.
Lanchbery was the first to convert operas into ballets ( The Tales of Hoffmann , The Merry Widow , Die Fledermaus ),  and he also wrote music for some British films of the 1950s, including Deadly Nightshade (1953) and Colonel March Investigates (1955). He was involved in The Turning Point (1977), starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Leslie Browne, and his score for Evil Under the Sun (1982) was based on songs by Cole Porter, a memorable rendition of "You're The Top" by Diana Rigg. He also wrote scores for two silent film classics: D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation and John Ford's The Iron Horse . 
The American Ballet Theatre used 14 Lanchbery arrangements between 1962 and 2002:  he was the Musical Director of the Company between 1978 and 2002. Their productions included his arrangement, for Natalia Makarova, Minkus's La Bayadère in 1980. Lanchbery arranged more than 30 pieces by Franz Liszt  for Macmillan's Mayerling , which premiered at Covent Garden in 1978, and arranged another successful re-working of Minkus for Nureyev's production of La Bayadère in 1991.  Nureyev considered Lanchbery to be the greatest conductor of his time, but critics who disliked innovation disliked Lanchbery's tampering with original scores. 
In addition to London, Australia, and Sweden, Lanchbery was a guest conductor at many of the world's leading opera houses, including Paris, Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro, New York and Houston. He also toured Japan, Russia and China.  He received honours from Russia and Sweden. 
Lanchbery was the first non-Soviet conductor to receive the Bolshoi Medal. He also received the Carina Ari Medal  and the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, Britain's highest professional award.  In 1990 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.  
Lanchbery married a Sadler's Wells principal Elaine Fifield in 1951. They had a daughter, Margaret Lanchbery, and divorced in 1960: Elaine died in 1999.  Lanchbery became an Australian citizen in 2002, making his home in Melbourne, where he died on 27 February 2003. He was survived by his daughter, Margaret, of Melbourne, and his companion, Thomas Han.  
He was a member of the Garrick Club. 
Some of the most popular ballets are arrangements of works written for a different purpose. Perhaps the best-known is Alexander Glazunov's arrangement of Frédéric Chopin's piano music into the ballet Les Sylphides . Another famous example is La boutique fantasque , an arrangement of Gioachino Rossini's music by Ottorino Respighi in 1919. However, Lanchbery was the most successful and prolific arranger of music for ballet.
Lanchbery's works included supporting tertiary students: during a 1976 visit to Australia, Lanchbery conducted the 27th Intervarsity Choral Festival choir performing Rossini's Petite messe solennelle and Gaudeamus igitur in Hobart. 
The Piano Sonata in B minor, S.178, is a piano sonata by Franz Liszt. It was completed in 1853 and published in 1854 with a dedication to Robert Schumann.
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La Fille mal gardée is a comic ballet presented in two acts, inspired by Pierre-Antoine Baudouin's 1765 painting, La réprimande/Une jeune fille querellée par sa mère. The ballet was originally choreographed by the Ballet Master Jean Dauberval to a pastiche of music based on fifty-five popular French airs. The ballet was premiered on 1 July 1789 at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France under the title Le ballet de la paille, ou Il n'est qu'un pas du mal au bien.
La Bayadère is a ballet, originally staged in four acts and seven tableaux by French choreographer Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus. The ballet was staged especially for the benefit performance of the Russian Prima ballerina Ekaterina Vazem, who created the principal role of Nikiya. La Bayadère was first presented by the Imperial Ballet at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 4 February [O.S. 23 January] 1877. From the first performance the ballet was universally hailed by contemporary critics as one of the choreographer Petipa's supreme masterpieces, particularly the scene from the ballet known as The Kingdom of the Shades, which became one of the most celebrated pieces in all of classical ballet. By the turn of the 20th century, The Kingdom of the Shades scene was regularly extracted from the full-length work as an independent showpiece, and it has remained so to the present day.
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Mayerling is a ballet choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan to the music of Franz Liszt, arranged by John Lanchbery, scenario by Gillian Freeman and designed by Nicholas Georgiadis. The ballet is based on the Mayerling incident, a series of events surrounding the apparent murder–suicide of Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria and his lover, Baroness Mary Vetsera. The ballet premiered on 14 February 1978, at the Royal Opera House, danced by The Royal Ballet, with David Wall as Prince Rudolf and Lynn Seymour as Vetsera.
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Maryon Lane was a South African ballet dancer who became well known in Britain as a ballerina of the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet and as a soloist with the Royal Ballet.
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La fille mal gardée, Frederick Ashton's Royal Ballet production, began in 1959 when British choreographer Frederick Ashton created a new version of La fille mal gardée for the Royal Ballet of London. This production premiered on 28 January 1960, with Nadia Nerina as Lise, David Blair as Colas, Stanley Holden as the Widow Simone, and Alexander Grant as Alain. Since its inception Ashton's staging has become a celebrated classic of the ballet repertory.