Opera Scotland

Leslie Heward Suggest updates

Born Liversedge, Yorks, 8 December 1897.

Died 3 May 1943.

English composer, conductor and pianist.

Leslie Heward was an important British musician of the inter-war years, whose career was curtailed by chronic ill-health, as a result first of asthma, then tuberculosis in later years.

From 1924-26 he was conductor of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra. On his return to Britain he worked regularly with BNOC, though he was never regarded as an opera specialist.  In 1930 he was appointed conductor of the City of Birmingham Municipal Orchestra, following Sir Adrian Boult's move to the BBC. In 1942 he was invited to take over the Hallé, but John Barbirolli, returning from the New York Philharmonic, took on the job as Heward was by then too ill.

He was regarded primarily as a conductor of symphonic music, particularly for modern British repertoire. He was himself a composer, and an a cappella choral piece The Witches' Sabbath was first performed at the Morecambe Festival of 1920.

He left a handful of recordings of orchestral music, and appears as accompanist on some of the song recordings of Maggie Teyte and Joan Hammond.

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