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HomeSearchGetRecordBarbirolli collection (1897-1980)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Barbirolli collection (1897-1980)
A collection of 14 folders of programmes from the conductor and cellist, John Barbirolli, from 1897 to 1980. The early part of the collection – programmes from 1897 to 1905 – is from John Barbirolli’s father, Lorenzo Barbirolli. The majority of the collection relates to the performing career of John Barbirolli, 1899-1970. The collection also contains a few programmes from memorial concerts held after Barbirolli’s death.

Programmes concerning Lorenzo Barbirolli

There is one folder of programmes from Lorenzo Barbirolli. The majority of these programmes are from concerts where Lorenzo Barbirolli was conducting. Sometimes the performing group is indicated as “Signor Barbirolli’s quintet”; another programme lists Barbirolli as the conductor of the “Green Hungarian Band”. The programmes are largely from concerts held in London, and the majority of these are from concerts held at the Queen’s Hotel restaurant - though the location of this hotel is not printed on the programmes, it is likely to have been the "Queen's Hotel" in Leicester Square. Other London venues include Steinway Hall and 3 Hyde Park Gardens. Provincial venues include Albert Hall, Sheffield and Windsor Castle.

Programmes concerning John Barbirolli

Early programmes – 1911 to 1929

These include programmes from John Barbirolli’s studies and career as cellist and conductor. While there is overlap throughout the collection between these two activities, the majority if programmes featuring Barbirolli as a cellist can be found in the early programmes, from 1911 to 1929. Early programmes list Barbirolli with the Italian version of his forename "Giovanni"; by the mid-1920s he is usually listed as "John".

The first programme in the collection dates from 11/07/1911. It relates to a concert given by Trinity College of Music - held at the Queen’s Hall – including Barbirolli as a cellist in the orchestra. There are programmes from other concerts featuring Barbirolli as a student, including appearances as a cellist in chamber music as well as part of a student organ recital. These date from 1913 to 1915, and took place at the Royal Academy of Music. In a number of these concerts, Barbirolli is listed as “Tito Barbirolli”.

The collection contains a programme and ticket from Barbirolli’s first professional solo recital. This took place at the Aeolian Hall on June 13th 1917. The programmes from the 1920s include a number of concerts where Barbirolli appeared as a solo cellist. These include appearances at the Violoncello club (10 Nottingham Place, W1 – 1928), 6 Queen Square (Bloomsbury – 1923), Aeolian Hall (undated) and Gem Theatre (Gravesend – undated). There is also a programme from Barbirolli’s war-time service. There is a programme from a mixed concert held at the Aerodrome, Port Victoria. This was a mixed concert and included a solo Cello item by Barbirolli.

John Barbirolli’s chamber music career is also documented by the programme collection. European programmes dominate this type of performance. These include performances given by the “Music Society String Quartet” [of London], which consisted of André Mangeot, Boris Pecker, Henry J. Berly and Barbirolli. The programmes are from concerts given at the following venues in Spain: Palau de la musica catalana; Teatre Vigata [most likely to be the theatre located in Vich, Spain]; Sala Edison [Figueras]; Teatre Fortuny [Reus]; Salón teatro del centro fraternal [unknown location, probably Spain] Teatre Principal [Girona]. There is a programme from the Salle Erard [Paris] featuring Barbirolli and Mangeot with the Philharmonic String Quartet. There is also a programme from a performance by the Kutchner Quartet, given in the South Place Institute, 1924.

There is a programme from a concert given at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1920. Barbirolli was playing in the orchestra.

The programmes from Barbirolli’s conducting career are more disparate in the 1920s than later in the collection. The majority of programmes featuring Barbirolli as a conductor are either from chamber orchestra concerts, or from opera performances. Programme from chamber orchestra concerts include concerts given at the Wigmore Hall, 93 Harley Street. There is a programme from a concert given by the Chenil Chamber Orchestra, and a pupil’s concert held at the London School of violoncello. The majority of operatic programmes are from the British National Opera Company.

Barbirolli as conductor – 1929-1970

The majority of programmes from 1929-1970 feature John Barbirolli as conductor. The programmes from 1929 to 1935 are chiefly from opera performances: these include Barbirolli’s tenure as musical director of the Covent Garden Opera Company, plus a number of programmes from student opera performances at the Royal Academy of Music. The latter feature periodically in the collection - up until the end of Barbirolli’s life.

British concert programmes are frequently from the major London symphony orchestras in the1930s and 1940s, and are almost exclusively from the Hallé during the 1950s and 1960s. Hallé programmes form the largest body of programmes across the whole Barbirolli collection. These include a significant number from concerts held at the Free Trade Hall [Manchester] – which was re-opened in 1951 - as well as concerts held in other North England venues. The London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra feature most prominently of the London orchestras; as well as London concerts, the collection includes programmes from a number of provincial concerts given by these orchestras. There are also a number of programmes from concerts given by the Scottish Orchestra, which are concentrated in the 1930s part of the collection.

The majority of British programmes post-1951 is from concerts given at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. British concert programme venues from the 1930s and 1940s are as follows: Queen’s Hall; St. Andrew’s Hall [Glasgow]; Royal Albert Hall; Caird Hall, Dundee; Colston Hall; Usher Hall; City Chambers, Glasgow; Victoria Hall, Sheffield; Central Hall, Oldham St., Manchester; Belle Vue [Manchester]; Cambridge Theatre; Music Hall, Aberdeen; Town Hall, Middlesborough; Orpheum, Golders Green; Town Hall, Walsall; Albert Hall, Nottingham; Streatham Hill Theatre; Corn Exchange, Bedford.

The collection contains programmes from a number of British music festivals, including the Leeds Triennial Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Buxton Festival, King’s Lynn Festival and Bexhill-on-Sea Festival.

Foreign orchestras are heavily represented in the collection. Indeed, by the mid-1960s, programmes from concerts that took place outside of Britain easily outnumber those from within. In particular, there are a significant amount of programmes from concerts where Barbirolli conducted the following orchestras:

New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra (later the New York Philharmonic Orchestra) – concerts usually took place in Carnegie Hall, then later in Philharmonic Hall, Lincoln Centre
Houston Symphony Orchestra – later predominantly in the Jesse J. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts
Berlin Philharmonischer Orchester – predominantly from the 1960s, Konzertsaal der Hochschule fur Musik; Philharmonie.

There are a number of programmes from concerts given in Helsinki, including concerts by the Helinsinfors Stadsorkester. There are also programmes from Holland, Russia, Austria, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Germany, Portugal, France, Australia and Canada.

Some programmes in the collection relate to foreign tours by British orchestras, lead by Barbirolli. The majority of these are from the Hallé Orchestra. The most notable of these, are programmes and other material from a tour by the Hallé Orchestra to South America in 1968. There are programmes from the following venues:
Teatro Municipal, Sao Pualo [Brazil]; Salao de Atis, Ufrgs [Porto Alegre – full name Salao de atos da reitoria da Urgs]; Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro. There is also a programme from an unidentified venue in Venezuela.

The majority of programmes in this part of the collection are from symphony concerts. More unusual programmes include a programme given in the Guildhall, London, from the launch of Independent Television in 1955. The Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Barbirolli, provided part of the first independent television broadcast in the United Kingdom. Though the repertoire of the programmes is diverse, concerts in celebration or commemoration of Elgar and Sibelius are noticeable in number. These include programmes for various commemorative festivals of both these composers’ music. Some programmes feature performances by Barbirolli’s second wife, the oboist Evelyn Rothwell. These include a programme featuring Barbirolli’s arrangement of Corelli, “Concerto for oboe and strings”.

Posthumous programmes – 1970-1980

There is a small amount of programmes from after Barbirolli’s death on 29th July 1970. These are largely commemoration concerts, chiefly from Manchester. There is also a programme from a concert given in 1979, marking the eightieth year since Barbirolli’s birth.

The programmes are arranged loosely in chronological order.
Date range of collection
1897 - 1980
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific
This collection is about

Location Details

Royal Academy of Music, Library
Marylebone Road London NW1 5HT
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020 7873 7323
020 7873 7322
Visiting Information
Term-Time Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9.00–18.00 Saturdays: 9.00–12.00 (Junior Academy terms only) Vacation hours vary and are advertised in the Library Information section in the on-line Unicorn Catalogue.
Collections Overview
Books; printed music; sound recordings; choral sets; orchestral sets; manuscripts; early printed music & books; undergraduate & research
For details of other collections held at the same location: See the location record

Additional Collection Information

Accrual Status
Related Publications
Management Information (Type)
Collection Owner(s)
Collection Creator(s)
Collection Collector(s)
Collection Custodians(s)
Associated Collection(s)
Cardif University (Prifysgol Caerdydd)Royal College of Music LondonMuseums, Libraries and Archives Council