Opera Scotland

Erik Chisholm Suggest updates

Born Glasgow, 4 January 1904.

Died Cape Town, 7 June 1965.

Scottish conductor, composer and critic.

Erik Chisholm was one of the most important figures in Scottish musical life between the wars, his contribution as conductor of the Glasgow Grand Opera Society being quite exceptional.

After his initial training in Glasgow, he studied under Donald Tovey in Edinburgh. His period with Glasgow Grand (1930-39) brought notable performances of rare works by Mozart (Idomeneo), Schubert (The Faithful Warrior - edited by his old mentor Tovey), and Berlioz (The Trojans, Benvenuto Cellini, Beatrice and Benedick). He also conducted the Carl Rosa company in 1940 before going out to southeast Asia, where he worked with ENSA.

He was appointed Professor of Music at the University of Cape Town in 1945, holding the post until his death. Through that period he achieved much in transforming musical life in South Africa.  Operatic compositions included, in addition to Simoon, a work derived from The Pardoner's Tale - Chaucer's text being adapted by the composer.  It was premiered in Cape Town in November 1961.

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