LOUIS FRE­MAUX

BBC Music Magazine - - THE FULL SCORE - Con­duc­tor Bas­soon­ist

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

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