Tribute to Friend and Conductor

David Measham

1937 - 2005

Conductor David Measham passed away 6th February 2005 in Perth, Western Australia, after a year long struggle with pancreatic cancer.

Born in Nottingham, England in 1937 his career began as a violinist in the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London, before moving to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1962 where was the sub-leader sitting beside John Georgiadis. When John moved back to London to take the position of leader for the London Symphony Orchestra David soon followed. At first he sat in the fourth seat of the first violins but then became principal 2nd violin when the seat became vacant when Neville Mariner departed to become conductor the Academy of St. Martins.

Seen at right sitting with John Georgiadis
on the front desk of the LSO in the
Brangwyn Hall, Swansea in 1969
(Sid Colter behind)

 

 

During one LSO Mahler symphony rehearsal with Leonard Bernstein in the early '70s, the maestro asked if someone in the orchestra could temporarily conduct so that he could go to the back of the hall (Royal Festival Hall) to hear how the acoustics sounded. David, whose first love has always been to conduct, jumped out of his seat and took the baton. The orchestra was both surprised and impressed how well David did in the few minutes allotted him and it was noted by all, including Bernstein who couldn't scurry back to the podium quick enough, that he'd made a better job of it than the expensive maestro! From that moment on, with a little bit of help from Bernstein, David's sight was firmly fixed on a conducting career and he soon left the LSO and sold his violin.

In 1972 Measham conducted the London Symphony Orchestra and Chambre Choir for The Who’s rock opera “Tommy” and soon showed that he was one of the orchestral conductors who's work could also included rock music. Measham worked for artists such as the Who, Rick Wakeman, Ornette Coleman and James Galway.

In 1974 David Measham conducted the London Symphony Orchestra on Rick Wakeman’s “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, touring America and Japan and later the New World Symphony Orchestra on the “Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table”. He also worked for numerous artists, including jazz sax player Ornette Coleman and classical flute player James Galway. In the field of classic music David Measham released several albums on RCA Records, like “Dances for Flute”, “Flute for Relaxation”, “Meditations” and “Serenade”.

His main achievements as conductor, however, were brought about by his appointment as Principal Conductor of the West Australia Symphony Orchestra.


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