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John Lanchbery (Conductor)

Born: 15th May 1923, London

Died: 27th February 2003, Melbourne

Nationality: English-Australian

John Arthur Lanchbery OBE 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. Although he resigned from the position of Principal Conductor of the Royal Ballet in 1972, he continued to conduct regularly for the Company until 2001.

Lanchbery worked with Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in addition to his lifelong friends Peter Stanley Lyons and Kenneth Spring.

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".

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