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Simon Preston

Simon Preston

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Simon John Preston CBE (born 4 August 1938, Bournemouth
Bournemouth
Bournemouth is a large coastal resort town in the ceremonial county of Dorset, England. According to the 2001 Census the town has a population of 163,444, making it the largest settlement in Dorset. It is also the largest settlement between Southampton and Plymouth...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

) is an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 organist
Organist
An organist is a musician who plays any type of organ. An organist may play solo organ works, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers or instrumental soloists...

, conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

, and composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

.

Early life


He attended the Canford School
Canford School
Canford School is a coeducational independent school for both day and boarding pupils, in the village of Canford Magna, near to the market town of Wimborne Minster in Dorset, in South West England. The school was founded in 1923. There are approximately 600 pupils at Canford, organised into houses...

 in Wimborne
Wimborne Minster
Wimborne Minster is a market town in the East Dorset district of Dorset in South West England, and the name of the Church of England church in that town...

 in Dorset
Dorset
Dorset , is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The county town is Dorchester which is situated in the south. The Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch joined the county with the reorganisation of local government in 1974...

. Originally a chorister at King's College, Cambridge
King's College, Cambridge
King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college's full name is "The King's College of our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge", but it is usually referred to simply as "King's" within the University....

, he studied the organ
Pipe organ
The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air through pipes selected via a keyboard. Because each organ pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ranks, each of which has a common timbre and volume throughout the keyboard compass...

 with C. H. Trevor before returning to King's as organ scholar
Organ scholar
An organ scholar is a young musician employed as a part-time assistant organist at an institution where regular choral services are held. The idea of an organ scholarship is to provide the holder with playing, directing and administrative experience....

.

Organist


He was sub-organist of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 from 1962-7, and organist of Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church or house of Christ, and thus sometimes known as The House), is one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England...

 from 1970 before returning to Westminster as Organist and Master of the Choristers in 1981. He relinquished his Westminster post in 1987, and has since led an international concert career, and has also composed works for the organ, the best-known of which is probably his Alleluyas, written in the style of Olivier Messiaen
Olivier Messiaen
Olivier Messiaen was a French composer, organist and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex ; harmonically and melodically it is based on modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from his early compositions and improvisations...

.

His playing, always very clean and precise, has mellowed from the fiery and incisive style of his younger days, to the more sedate and comfortable now, though always with mastery of the instrument and the work in question. He has many recordings to his credit, including the complete works of J. S. Bach and the Saint-Saëns
Camille Saint-Saëns
Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns was a French Late-Romantic composer, organist, conductor, and pianist. He is known especially for The Carnival of the Animals, Danse macabre, Samson and Delilah, Piano Concerto No. 2, Cello Concerto No. 1, Havanaise, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and his Symphony...

 Organ Symphony
Symphony No. 3 (Saint-Saëns)
The Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78, was completed by Camille Saint-Saëns in 1886 at what was probably the artistic zenith of his career. It is also popularly known as the "Organ Symphony", even though it is not a true symphony for organ, but simply an orchestral symphony where two sections out...

, with James Levine
James Levine
James Lawrence Levine is an American conductor and pianist. He is currently the music director of the Metropolitan Opera and former music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Levine's first performance conducting the Metropolitan Opera was on June 5, 1971, and as of May 2011 he has...

 conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
The Berlin Philharmonic, German: , formerly Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester , is an orchestra based in Berlin, Germany. In 2006, a group of ten European media outlets voted the Berlin Philharmonic number three on a list of "top ten European Orchestras", after the Vienna Philharmonic and the...

, both for Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon is a German classical record label which was the foundation of the future corporation to be known as PolyGram. It is now part of Universal Music Group since its acquisition and absorption of PolyGram in 1999, and it is also UMG's oldest active label...

, He has played harpsichord
Harpsichord
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

 (particularly earlier in his career), including on a recording of the Concert Champêtre
Concert champêtre
Concert champêtre is a harpsichord concerto by Francis Poulenc, which also exists in a version for piano solo with very slight changes in the solo part....

, as well as organ. He has recorded Handel
HANDEL
HANDEL was the code-name for the UK's National Attack Warning System in the Cold War. It consisted of a small console consisting of two microphones, lights and gauges. The reason behind this was to provide a back-up if anything failed....

's complete organ concertos twice: with Yehudi Menuhin
Yehudi Menuhin
Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin, OM, KBE was a Russian Jewish American violinist and conductor who spent most of his performing career in the United Kingdom. He was born to Russian Jewish parents in the United States, but became a citizen of Switzerland in 1970, and of the United Kingdom in 1985...

 conducting the Bath Festival Orchestra and later on historical instruments with Trevor Pinnock
Trevor Pinnock
Trevor David Pinnock CBE is an English conductor, harpsichordist, and occasional organist and pianist.He is best known for his association with the period-performance orchestra The English Concert which he helped found and directed from the keyboard for over 30 years in baroque and early classical...

 directing The English Concert
The English Concert
The English Concert is a baroque orchestra playing on period instruments based in London. Founded in 1972 and directed from the harpsichord by Trevor Pinnock for 30 years, it is now directed by harpsichordist Harry Bicket...

.

Already an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Preston was promoted Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.

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