John Lanchbery

John Arthur Lanchbery OBE (15 May 1923 – 27 February 2003) was an English, later Australian, composer and conductor, famous for his ballet arrangements. John Lanchbery was born in London and took violin lessons from the age of eight, when he started composing. A scholarship took him to the Royal Academy of Music. This was interrupted by the Second World War. He returned to studies and took part-time work with a music publisher, the Anglo Soviet Music Press. They suggested that he audition for the post of conductor with the Metropolitan Ballet. He made his debut with them at Edinburgh in 1948. Two years later the orchestra collapsed for lack of funds but by then he had learned his craft. Working with choreographer Celia Franca, Lanchbery wrote The Eve of St Agnes (the story was based on John Keats' poem of the same name), one of the first commissioned ballets to be shown on BBC television. He was taken on by Sadler's Wells company. The first professional ballet choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan was Somnambulism in 1953, with music by Stan Kenton orchestrated by Lanchbery. They also did House of Birds in 1955 (to original music by Federico Mompou).


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