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Harry Rabinowitz

Kirsty Young talks to conductor and composer Harry Rabinowitz.

Kirsty's castaway this week is the conductor and composer Harry Rabinowitz.

His list of credits and collaborations read like a Who's Who of 20th century music - Gracie Fields, Charles Aznavour, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Matt Monro & Barbra Streisand are only a handful of the stellar names who've benefitted from his talents. He's conducted a lot of movie scores too, including Chariots of Fire and The Talented Mr Ripley; indeed the late director Anthony Minghella described him as "the UK's best kept secret".

It wasn't an illustrious start; his first job was playing sheet music for prospective customers in a Johannesburg department store - he was fired after 6 weeks. His first go at conducting was enhanced not by an elegant baton of the finest Maplewood but a rolled up old newspaper.

He's almost a hundred years old now, still plays the piano every day and only retired from the concert platform six years ago at the age of 94.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

Available now

37 minutes

Last on

Fri 3 Jul 2015 09:00

Music Played

  • Louis Armstrong & Earl Hines

    West End Blues

    • Louis Armstrong 1928 - 1931.
    • Hermes.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Sonata No.20 in G major, Op.49, No.2

    Performer: John Lill.
    • Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas Vol.1.
    • Academy Sound and Vision.
  • Peter Pears/Dennis Brain/Benjamin Britten

    Hymn to Diana

    • Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings.
    • Decca.
  • William Walton

    Fourth Movement, Symphony No.1

    Performer: Tasmin Little/Edward Gardner, BBC Symphony Orchestra.
    • Walton: Symphony No.1/Violin Concerto.
    • Chandos.
  • Charles Aznavour


    • A Tapestry of Dreams.
    • Barclay Records.
  • Elaine Paige


    • Cats - Original London Cast Recording.
    • Really Useful Records.
  • Academy of St Martin in the Fields

    Kip's Lights

    • The English Patient original soundtrack recording.
    • Fantasy.

    • Dmitry Shostakovich

      Reilly, Ace of Spies - Theme Tune

      Performer: Olympic Orchestra.
      • Single 45.
      • Red Bus.

    The Red and the Black by Stendhal


    A pitch pipe


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Harry Rabinowitz
Producer Sarah Taylor


  • Sun 28 Jun 2015 11:15
  • Fri 3 Jul 2015 09:00

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