Boyd Neel

Boyd Neel (cond., 1947, 1948)

[Born 1905, died Toronto 30 Sep 1981]

Louis Boyd Neel was trained as a medical doctor but gave up that career in 1932 to become a professional conductor. In 1934 he conducted the first performance of any opera at Glyndebourne. He appeared at the Salzburg Festival in 1937, and conducted his own orchestra that toured Great Britain and Europe until 1939.

During World War II he returned to medicine and went into the Navy. After the war he resumed his musical career, conducting at Sadler's Wells from 1944 to 1946. In 1947 and 1948 Neel was invited to conduct the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in repertoire for two London season at Sadler's Wells Theatre. The Boyd Neel Orchestra continued to tour Europe, toured Australia in 1947, and for many years was an important part of the Edinburgh Festival. In 1953 he became Dean of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario, where he served for eighteen years. He was awarded the C.B.E. in 1953 and was an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music.

After his retirement Neel worked on his memoirs. He died in 1981, but his book was ultimately edited and published by a close friend, J. David Finch: "My Orchestrations and Other Adventures," University of Toronto Press, 1985. The book also includes an extensive discography of recordings of the Boyd Neel Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Neel for Decca Records between 1934 and 1979.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone