Barbirolli, John

BORN 2 Dec 1899, London: Southampton Row - DIED 29 Jul 1970, London
BIRTH NAME Barbirolli, Giovanni Battista
GRAVE LOCATION London: St Mary's Cemetery, Harrow Road, Kensal Green (grave no. 251 NE (ashes), 150 yards on the right of the main drive into the cemetery)

Second son of the Italian violinist Lorenzo Barbirolli (1864-1928). His mother Louise Marie Ribeyrol was French. He learned to play the violin when he was four and soon switched to the cello. He was educated at the Trinity College of Music and at the Royal Academy of Music (1912-1916). From 1916 to 1918 he worked as a cellist in London. In 1918 he entered the army, where he conducted an orchestra of volunteers.

After the war he worked as conductor and in 1927 he conducted Elgar's "Symphony No. 2" with the London Symphony Orchestra and received the compliments of Elgar. In 1932 he worked as a guest conductor for the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester. During the same year he married the singer Marjorie Perry. In 1936 he succeeded Toscanini at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He held this post until 1942. Then he refused another contract because of the musical politics in New York.In 1939 he had divorced Marjorie and in the same year he married oboist Evelyn Rothwell. This marriage lasted until his death.

In 1943 he returned to England. He switched places with the actor Leslie Howard and rechaed England safely. Howard's plane was shot down. In Manchester he became the conductor of the Hallé Orchestra that suffered from a lack of musicians at the time. According to some he managed to revitalize the orchestra and to others its standard declined dramatically. However, he was its conductor from 1943 until his death in 1970.

During his career he made numerous recordings. In 1965 he recorded with the young cellist Jacueline du Pré who soon became an international celebrity. In 1949 he was knighted and in 1968 he became Conductor Laureate. He had no children.

Related persons
• discovered Pré, Jacqueline du


The grave of John Barbirolli at St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London.
Picture by Androom (26 Jun 2009)


The grave of John Barbirolli at St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London.
Picture by Androom (26 Jun 2009)


• Greenwood, Peter, Who's buried where in England, Constable, London, 1982
Wikipedia (EN):

Barbusse, Henri

Published: 01 Aug 2010
Last update: 13 Apr 2024