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Thomas Beecham

Thomas Beecham (1879 - 1961) was a British conductor. He founded several British orchestras including the New Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Beecham was a great champion of several composers, including Delius and Sibelius. He also often succeeded in presenting slight pieces, such as encores, in their best light, and this gave rise to the terminology "Beecham's lollipops".

Beecham was known as a great wit, and there are many anecdotes involving him. It is said that in one rehearsal he was unsatisfied with the performance of a female solo cellist, and so said to her "Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands, and all you can do is scratch it!". Still more famous is the response Beecham is reported to have made when asked whether he had ever conducted any Stockhausen: 'No, but I believe I once trod in some!'.

Selected Discography