Adrian Cedric Boult

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Boult, Adrian Cedric [Sir] (8 Apr 1889 - 23 Feb 1983)

Boult, who was born in Chester, England, studied at Westminster School and then at Christ Church, Oxford.

In 1919, at the request of composer Gustav Holst, he conducted the first performance of part of the suite The Planets, and from 1919 to 1930 he taught at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1936, he was the conductor during the coronation of George VI. He conducted in a variety of places and from 1962 to 1966 taught at the Royal College of Music,

In 1993 he married Ann Wilson, the ex-wife of Steuart Wilson, tenor singer and administrator. The marriage lasted until Boult's death. He was knighted in 1937.

With Walter Emery, he wrote The Point of the Stick, a Handbook on the Technique of Conducting (Oxford 1921 and London 1949, revised London 1968); with Walter Emergy, The Saint Matthew Passion, Its Preparation and Performance (London, 1949); Thoughts on Conducting (London 1963); and his autobiography, My Own Trumpet (London 1973).

Boult was a member of two or more Unitarian churches and actively promoted Unitarianism. He married in the Unitarian Chapel in Ditchling, East Sussex, England, where he was a member for half his life.

In his diary, he wrote like a theist, once noting that “Making pictures and patterns of the notes is not enough—knowing the composer’s mind is not enough. I must pull down the ultimate beauty and truth of the music as God’s imagination for healing and peace of mankind, through myself, to people on earth.”

However, he was unitarian, not trinitarian, in his outlook.

Boult's chronic back pain slowed him considerably, and he did seated studio work for several years. Retiring entirely in 1981, he died at a nursing home in Turnbridge Wells, Kent, England.


{CE; U; UU}