Sir Charles Mackerras - conductor
Born in 1925 of Australian parents in America, Sir Charles Mackerras studied in Sydney and Prague and made his début as an opera conductor at Sadler's Wells. He was First Conductor of the Hamburg Opera (1966-69) and Musical Director of both Sadler's Wells (later English National Opera) (1970-77), and of Welsh National Opera (1987-92), where his notable Janácek productions, amongst many others, were acclaimed. From 1982-85 Sir Charles was Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and also conducted the opening public concert at the Sydney Opera House. Sir Charles was Conductor Laureate of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Conductor Emeritus of the OAE, Conductor Laureate of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Conductor Emeritus of the Welsh National Opera, Conductor Emeritus of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor Emeritus of the San Francisco Opera. A specialist in Czech repertory, Sir Charles was Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 1997-2003, following his life-long association with both the Orchestra and many aspects of Czech musical life.
Sir Charles has undertaken much research into performance practice of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. One of the highlights of the 1991 season was the re-opening of the Estates Theatre in Prague, scene of the première of Don Giovanni. Sir Charles conducted a new production of that opera to mark the bicentenary of Mozart's death. He has recorded all of Mozart's Symphonies and Serenades with the Prague Chamber Orchestra. With the Scottish Chamber Orchestra he has recorded seven Mozart operas, including La Clemenza di Tito. He has been named Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival Society.
His vast discography includes an award-winning cycle of Janácek operas with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten's Gloriana with WNO and Dvorák's Rusalka with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Notable are his recordings with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra of Beethoven's and Mahler's symphonies and Brahms' four symphonies with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Sir Charles and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra have recorded Mozart: Symphonies 38-41 (Linn CKD 308) and Mozart: Symphonies 29, 31 (Paris), 32, 35 (Haffner) & 36 (Linz) (Linn CKD 350) as well as Mozart concertos with Alfred Brendel. Sir Charles has recorded Czech music with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, including Dvorák's Slavonic Dances, Smetana's Má Vlast, Martin Field's Mass and Double Concerto and Janácek's Katya Kabanova, Šárka and the Glagolitic Mass all for Supraphon. For Chandos he has recorded The Magic Flute, The Makropolous Case, Così Fan Tutte and Hansel & Gretel, which won a GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. He has recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies for Hyperion Records. His recording Beethoven: Piano Concertos 3, 4 & 5 (Linn CKD 336), with Artur Pizarro (piano) and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra was released in May 2009.
Sir Charles made his début with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1964, where he has since conducted 33 operas, including Un Ballo in Maschera which celebrated his 50th anniversary and 80th birthday in 2005. He also recently conducted Katya Kabanova there, an opera which he first introduced to London audiences in 1951 at the Sadler's Wells Theatre; the first performance of a Janácek opera in the United Kingdom. In addition to his many appearances with the San Francisco Opera, he has a long association with the Metropolitan Opera, New York. He made his début at the Salzburg Festival, with the Vienna Philharmonic, conducting Le Nozze di Figaro in 1998, and returned to Salzburg to conduct the orchestra in a programme of Schubert and Mozart in 2005. He made his début with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 2004, in which year he also made his début at the National Theatre Prague, conducting Janácek's Výlety pana Broucka (The Excursions of Mr Broucek).
Sir Charles received a CBE in 1974 and was knighted in 1979. He was honoured with the medal of merit from the Czech Republic in 1996, made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1997 and made a Companion of Honour in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours. In May 2005 he was presented with the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal and in November 2005 was the first recipient of the Queen's Medal for Music. In 2008 his recording of Mozart: Symphonies 38-41 was named Album of the Year at Le Monde de la Musique Choc de l'annee Awards and in 2009 the same recording was the winner of the Symphonic Works Award in the Midem Classical Awards 2009 and in a double-win won the Orchestral Award and Disc of the Year at the 2009 BBC Music Magazine awards.
Sir Charles sadly passed away on 14th July 2010 after a long battle with cancer.
Click here to visit the Scottish Chamber Orchestra website.
SCO's Mozart Named Building A Library 'First Choice'
24 October 2015
Highly recommended by BBC Radio 3's 'CD Review'more >>Mackerras' Mozart named in all-time Top 30
12 July 2013
iTunes include 'Mozart Syphonies 38-41' in its Essentials seriesmore >>'Mozart Symphonies 38 - 41' named as one of the best discs of the past 20 years!
30 July 2012
BBC Music Magazine celebrates 20 great recordings...more >>Mackerras' Mozart Wins ECHO Award
26 July 2011
SCO win 'Symphonic Recording of the Year'more >>Sir Charles Mackerras - One of the greatest conductors of all time
01 April 2011
As voted by BBC Music Magazinemore >>2010 Gramophone Awards Finalists announced
23 August 2010
Two Linn recordings make the shortlistmore >>We remember Sir Charles Mackerras
15 July 2010
Goat's milk and a secret...more >>Mozart Symphonies in the Billboard Charts
26 March 2010
Mackerras recording reaches #23more >>Mozart Symphonies in the Classical Charts!
22 March 2010
The SCO and Sir Charles are in the charts...more >>Sir Charles Mackerras is Artist of the Week
20 March 2010
The Mozart Symphonies conductor is celebrated on Gramophone Archive...more >>Mozart Symphonies sessions news
16 July 2009
Exclusive previewmore >>Edinburgh Festival dates for Linn artists
03 July 2009
Linn at EIFmore >>Linn artists at the BBC Proms
30 June 2009
live concerts in Londonmore >>Beethoven Concertos in UK Classical chart
11 May 2009
A new entry at No. 10more >>Mozart in chart for 4th week
05 May 2009
Bestseller in the Chart at No.6more >>Classical Brit Awards nominations announced...
21 April 2009
Double nomination for Mozart Symphonies 38 - 41!more >>CD of the Week for Beethoven Piano Concertos
16 April 2009
Classic FM selects the new recordingmore >>Mozart Symphonies in Official UK Classical Chart
15 April 2009
Top seller re-enters the chart at number 4!more >>Mozart Symphonies triumphs at the BBC Music Magazine Awards
08 April 2009
The SCO and Sir Charles Mackerras win two awards!more >>BBC Music Magazine nominates ‘Mozart Symphonies 38 – 41’
28 January 2009
Scottish Chamber Orchestra in shortlist for awardsmore >>Success at the Midem Awards!
21 January 2009
The SCO and Sir Charles Mackerras triumph in Cannesmore >>SCO and Sir Charles Mackerras shortlisted for award
13 January 2009
A Midem Award for 'Mozart Symphonies 38 - 41'?more >>Mozart Symphonies in another Best of 2008
18 December 2008
BBC Radio 4's Front Row selects recording as a Pick of 2008more >>Les Chocs de l'année 2008 for the SCO and Sir Charles Mackerras
25 November 2008
The French publication honours 'Mozart Symphonies 38 - 41'more >>
'...great expressiveness in its dynamics makes the piece feel like a conversation between instruments.'more >>Musicophiles Blog
Must-Have Mozart Albums: 'My favourite version is by Charles Mackerras.'more >>BBC Radio 3 ‘CD Review – Building A Library’
Top Recommendation: 'Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in a performance unsurpassed for its élan and clarity of detail.'more >>MusicWeb International
'...a world away from what you normally expect to hear from Wagner, and the transparency of the sound...allows the winds to come through with more clarity and equality...'more >>Audiophile Audition
'The musical salute to the 40th Anniversary of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra assembles three glowing performances from master musicians.'more >>Classic FM 'Drive'
‘Together Ticciati and the strings of the SCO bring out the work's radiantly rich tones.’more >>The Observer
'...sparkling performances...'more >>The Telegraph
'luminous beauty'more >>Sinfini Music
‘…the result is a gorgeous, gleaming account.’more >>The Sunday Times
'The Orchestra shows itself brilliantly adapted to any style and conductor...'more >>The SCOTS Magazine
'...a lasting momento of a tremendous association.'more >>ClassiqueInfo Disque
'Il y règne partout une sorte d’excitation bouillonnante, pleine d’énergie.'more >>OpusHD
OpusHD d'Or Award: offrant la grâce et la poésie que peu de formations baroques peuvent atteindremore >>OpusHD
OpusHD d'Or Award: offering the grace and poetry only a few Baroque orchestras can attainmore >>Stereophile
"...consistently outstanding..."more >>hi-fi+
"These are the best of the best and should not be missed on any account."more >>Classical.net
"...perhaps the finest recordings of these works I know."more >>Scherzo
Excepcional: "Ligera, chispeante, grácil y afirmativa: maravillosa, en una palabra."more >>Sound and Music
"Da non perdere."more >>allmusic.com
"They have the same drive and verve as his earlier work, but his vision now seems clearer and more radiant than before."more >>MusicWeb International
"so rich is the experience on offer here...this is top-notch stuff from a winning team."more >>ClassicsToday France
"Interprétativement il n'y a pas de surprises: c'est vif et chantant..."more >>The Sunday Post
"They're a pure joy..."more >>The Guardian
"...it's hard to imagine the final climax of the Linz more conclusively or majestically presented."more >>OpusMusica
Disco del mes: "Sencillo, sin pretensiones de monumentalidad ni de renovación, pero un clásico."more >>Klassik.com
'...fast transzendente Musizieren ein...'more >>Die Zeit
"So schön, so vollendet..."more >>MusicWeb International
Download Recording of the Month: "Here is all the delicacy of Mozart but with his underlying strength, too."more >>North London News
"...this set represents probably the finest modern recordings of these works."more >>Audiophile Audition
"This is some of the best Mozart I have ever heard..."more >>classicalsource.com
"...powerful and driving..."Metro
"The magic continues..."more >>The Scotsman
"In all these, the crack partnership...repeatedly imbues the music with finesse and energy."more >>Klassik.com
'...dem Zenit der Mozart-Interpretation angekommen.'more >>The Herald
"Great conducting, playing and recording throughout."more >>BBC Online
"Each of the disc's five symphonies is a gem in its own right...The glorious results are self-recommending."more >>Financial Times
"Mackerras has an unparalleled feeling for Mozart style..."more >>BBC Music Magazine
"Mackerras is the man, with rhythm and vigour to the fore."more >>Sunday Times
Classical CD of the Week: "Those who bought the last instalment will not want to miss this outstandingly well-engineered sequel."more >>The Times
"Everything comes stamped with character, intelligence and beauty."more >>International Record Review
IRR Outstanding: "...a performance of absolute mastery."more >>Gramophone
Gramophone Recommended: "there's so much to enjoy on these discs...and vivacity aplenty"more >>Audio Video Club of Atlanta
"...highly satisfactory..."more >>The Observer
"Highly recommended."more >>McAlister Matheson Newsletter
"It's a fascinating journey...Unmissable!"more >>SA-CD.net
"[The SCO] play like gods throughout...Highly recommended indeed."more >>Musical Pointers
"...superb, vital accounts of five more important Mozart symphonies..."more >>Gramophone
"...a performance of grace and musicianly charm."more >>Keswick Reminder
"...[a] fine collaboration..."more >>Qantas in-flight magazine
Original passsion and flair...Outstanding.more >>The Scotman (Live)
"...power-packed Mozart that has you sitting on the edge of your seat craving more."more >>Klassik.commore >>