Opera Scotland

Marcus Dods Suggest updates

Born Edinburgh, April 19, 1918.
Died Henley-on-Thames, April 30, 1984.

Scottish conductor and composer.

Educated Rugby School, King's College Cambridge, and Royal Academy of Music.

From 1947 to 1951 he worked at the Rank Organisation as Assistant Music Director (under Muir Matheson), working on several of the best British films of the period. From 1952 to 1956 he was conductor and chorus master at Sadler’s Wells. He conducted a range of works with them. For instance in the 1952-3 season he led 7 performances of Faust, 11 of Cavalleria Rusticana, 8 of Die Fledermaus and 3 of Hugh the Drover

Subsequently his career was concentrated on popular classical music, particularly as conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra (1966-70), and of West End musicals. He conducted the original London productions of Oliver! (Bart 1960), Blitz! (Bart 1962), Pickwick (Ornadel 1963), Maggie May (Bart 1964), and The Good Companions (Previn 1974). He was Musical Director of the London Concert Orchestra (1972-84).

He worked in cinema again, conducting the scores of Far from the Madding Crowd, (1967), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), Lady Caroline Lamb (1972) and Murder on the Orient Express (1974), as well as the music for the BBC's 26-episode serialisation of The Forsyte Saga.

With the BBC Concert Orchestra he conducted excellent studio recordings for BBC Radio 3 of Verdi’s I due Foscari (1970) and Il corsaro (1971), both of which were considerable rarities at the time. The original casts of Oliver! and Pickwick were recorded, and Dods also conducted the only recording of the children's opera The Happy Prince by Malcolm Williamson.

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