Norman Lebrecht talks to Roger Norrington, a pioneering conductor whose approach concentrates less on old instruments and more on texture of sound.
Sir Roger Norrington has been one of the major movers and shakers on the classical music scene for nearly half a century. He founded the Schutz Choir and the London Classical Players, and was Music Director of Kent Opera for 15 years before taking his place on the podium with some of the great orchestras of Europe and America. The son of an Oxford Vice-Chancellor, Norrington was put to work in academic publishing before the musical imperative took over. His approach differed from other historically informed leaders, concentrating less on old instruments and more on texture of sound. He has outlasted many of his noisier contemporaries, a fact more remarkable since he was told two decades ago that he'd developed a brain tumour and had only months to live. Norrington talks to Norman Lebrecht about his early years growing up in Oxford and Canada, how he made the decision to become a musician, and how he battled ill health to come through fighting.