During his time as principal conductor, Louis Frémaux transformed the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from provincial ensemble to what his successor Simon Rattle called ‘the best French orchestra in the country’. Born in 1921 in northern France, Frémaux attended the conservatoire in Valenciennes where he got involved in student politics; when war broke out, he joined the French Resistance. He was captured and imprisoned in a Nazi labour camp, but escaped and rejoined the fight in the French Foreign Legion, where he was twice awarded the Croix de Guerre. In 1969 he began at Birmingham, where he was initially hugely popular among audiences and orchestral players alike. He formed the CBSO Chorus and attracted soloists such as violinist Yehudi Menuhin and soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. His tenure ended badly and suddenly when, in 1978, the orchestra called a vote of no-confidence in their management. Frémaux did not return. In later years, he served as conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra with whom he travelled to remote parts of the country. Throughout his later life he retained a flat in Birmingham, where he lived with his second wife Cécily Hake, a former CBSO cellist. The son of professional opera singers, Peter Bastian is best known as a founder member of the Danish Wind Quintet. He attended the Danish Academy of Music in Bredal in the 1970s, where he was a private pupil of conductor Sergiu Celibidache and studied theoretical physics on the side. He spent much of his time travelling throughout Bulgaria and Turkey to collect and study folk music, and in 1976 he founded the crossover band Bazaar to perform an eclectic mix of classical, jazz and folk music. In 1987 his book Into the Music became a bestseller, and was translated into Swedish, Norwegian and Japanese.
french style: Frémaux at Henry Wood Hall in 1988