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Christopher Lyndon-Gee (Conductor, Piano)

Born: London, England

The English conductor, composer and pianist, Christopher Lyndon-Gee, studied conducting under Rudolf Schwarz in London, and Franco Ferrara in Rome, where Leonard Bernstein heard him conduct a student concert, subsequently inviting him to study at Tanglewood. Here he later worked also under Maurice Abravanel, Erich Leinsdorf and others. He worked as Bruno Maderna’s assistant at La Scala, Milan, later becoming second conductor at the Teatro Regio in Turin, working also with the RAI Orchestra in that city. He was co-founder with composer Lorenzo Ferrero of the Ensemble Fase Seconda, who premièred dozens of commissioned new works throughout Italy, Germany, France and at many international festivals. As a composer, he studied with Goffredo Petrassi in Rome, Luciano Berio, Sylvano Bussotti and Jean Martinon. Britain’s great musicologist Arthur Hutchings remains a powerful guiding influence, several decades on.

During his twelve-year residence in Australia, Christopher Lyndon-Gee was Chief Conductor of the Canberra Pro Arte Orchestra, with which he organized Festivals of the music of Alfred Schnittke and Rodion Shchedrin, gave Australian premieres of Arvo Pärt’s Miserere and Wenn Bach Bienen bezüchtet hätte, Pierre Boulez’s Le Marteau sans maEtre, Sergei Rachmaninov’s The Bells and All Night Vigil, Peter Maxwell DaviesSymphony Concertante, and tens of other works. He was named as ‘Artist of the Year’ by the National Critics’ Circle of Australia (1993) and as ‘Best Conductor’ by the Sydney Critics’ Guild for his conducting of the world premiere of Larry Sitsky’s The Golem at Sydney Opera House (1994). Having served as the principal Guest Conductor of the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra (the Netherlands) and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken (now the Deutsche Radio-Philharmonie), he now performs regularly with orchestras in Germany, Italy, England, Sweden, The Netherlands, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, the USA and several other countries.

Christopher Lyndon-Gee is perhaps best known for his celebrated and extensive discography with over 40 releases to date and more in the production pipeline (he was one of the first conductors to sign for Naxos, in 1993), encompassing compositions as diverse as the complete works of Igor Markevitch and George Rochberg to the works of Edgard Varèse, Ottorino Respighi, and music of Dmitri Shostakovich, Richard Strauss and Igor Stravinsky. The ground-breaking recording series of the complete works of Igor Markevitch (originally released on Marco Polo) includes seventeen world premiere recordings, the first disc ogf which garnering a Grammy nomination for "Best Orchestral Performance" in 1998. He was nominated for Grammys also in 2003 for the world première recording of George Rochberg’s Symphony No. 5 on Naxos American Classics; and again in 2007 for Hans Werner Henze’s Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 3 (Naxos), with Peter Sheppard Skærved and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken. His recording of Ottorino Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances with the Australian Chamber Orchestra was awarded a Rosette for eight consecutive years by the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs. A disc of Edgard Varèse with the Polish National Radio Symphony gained extraordinary international acclaim during 2001. Other recordings have been listed among Gramophone ‘Editor’s Choice’ in London, Fanfare magazine ‘Outstanding CDs of the Year’, Penguin Guide to Compact Discs’ multiple Rosettes and Key Recordings listings, and he won the Pizzicato prize in Luxembourg. Acclaimed recent releases include George Rochberg’s Symphony No. 1 in its première recording (Naxos); volume 2 of the complete works of Edgard Varèse (Naxos), including the massive original version of Amériques, for an orchestra of 155 players; and the completion of the Igor Markevitch complete works project, the oratorio Le Paradis perdu, released in 2008. Lyndon-Gee was honoured as one of only three hundred conductors included in Naxos’s 600- page book and CD compilation A to Z of Conductors, covering the entire history of the art-form from Hans von Bülow and Arthur Nikisch to the present day.

Frequently invited to conduct at the Warsaw Autumn Festival, Christopher Lyndon-Gee conducted four world premières on a single concert at the Jubilee, Fiftieth anniversary Festival in 2007 - new symphonies by the Slovakian composer Roman Berger; Lithuania’s leading female composer Onute Narbutaite; and the Polish composers Jerzy Kornowicz and Aleksand’r Lason. In 2006 he led the closing concert at the November 2006 ‘Pawel Szymanski Festival’, also in Warsaw, featuring six of the major works of Poland’s leading composer of today. In 2008, a four-DVD set including this complete concert was released worldwide by Polskie Wydawnictwo Audiowizualne.

As a composer, Christopher Lyndon-Gee was honoured by the Onassis Foundation Prize in Athens, Greece in 2001 for the ballet score Il Poeta muore, has won the ‘Sounds Australian’ award three times, the Adolf Spivakovsky Prize, and the MacDowell Fellowship twice. His works have been performed in many countries and his commissions include those from the Forte Quartet of New York and the Kreutzer Quartet in London as well as the John Armitage Memorial Trust. His Memorial, for String Orchestra (partly written in New York towards the end of 2001) recently premiered in Germany and London; commissions in progress include The Circling Fire - Variations on a Theme of George Rochberg and The Auschwitz Poems. In 2006, his setting from Dante’s Paradiso, Frammento del Dante, was premièred in Florence by the Echo-Klassiek prize-winning German ensemble SingerPur; Musik für SaitenInstrumente has had recent performances in several countries (including Vladivostock, in far eastern Russia); and Over Litton, after a poem of Edward Storey, was premièred in Wales as a 25th anniversary Presteigne Festival Commission before being taken up widely in New York, Australia and elsewhere. In progress are forthcoming commissions of a set of songs for Lute and Tenor voice, Lieder des Morgensterns; a new work for SingerPur on a text from Milton; a String Quartet; a second string orchestra work for the German conductor Eckart Schloifer, …und unter den Blättern saß Er, weinend; a work for ‘Harpsichord Unlimited’ in New York, Etudes canoniques; and a Symphony respectfully dedicated to the aboriginal heritage of Australia, Symphony of Dreamtime.

Christopher Lyndon-Gee is also a greatly accomplished pianist, specializing in the contemporary repertoire. Over two hundred new works were written specially for him in the 1970’s and 1980s’. He is also the founder of the Oxford Sinfonietta and Telford Sinfonia.

Christopher Lyndon-Gee was Chair of the Department of Musicology at the Australian National University, during which time he revamped the undergraduate music curriculum, developed Ph. D. and Masters programs, led a full-time faculty of fourteen and continued to add to his internatreputation as a composer, conductor, teacher, and scholar of music. Since 2002 he has been Chair and Professor of Music at Adelphi University in . Garden City,, New York. He is Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the New York-based Adelphi Symphony, which is composed primarily of expatriate Russian and Ukrainian musicians, many of whom are former principal players of great Russian orchestras. Recent programmes with them include Louis Andriessen’s De Staat, music by Peteris Vasks, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, ‘Babi Yar’. Schnittke’s Viola Concerto and Concerto Grosso No. 1 were planned for the 2005-2006 season.

Christopher Lyndon-Gee has written over 400 articles, reviews, CD sleeves, program notes and scholarly papers, and has a book in contract with London publisher Toccata Press.

Source: Naxos Website; Adelphi University Website (October 2002); Warsaw Autumn Website (2005)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2011)

Recordings of Arrangements/Transcriptions of Bach’s Works




Christopher Lyndon-Gee


Bach-Markevitch: Musical Offering BWV 1079, arranged for three orchestral groups and solo quartet

Links to other Sites

Christopher Lyndon-Gee - Biography (Naxos)
Lyndon-Gee Joins Adelphi Music Department (Adelphi University)

Christopher Lyndon-Gee - Warsaw Autumn 2005 - programme

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