Opera Scotland

John Currie Suggest updates

John Semple Currie.

Born Prestwick, Ayrshire 2 August 1934.

Died 17 May 2020.

Scottish conductor, chorus master, director and librettist.

John Currie was educated at Ayr Academy.  He studied in Glasgow at the RSAMD,  founding a student choir, the Glasgow Student Singers.   He then studied Music and English at Glasgow University.  Instead of national service, he taught for two years at Jordanhill College School.

After a post as Lecturer in Music at Glasgow University until 1971, he became Director of Music at the University of Leicester. and in June 1977 was appointed visiting Professor of Music at the University of Strathclyde.

As chorus master of the Scottish National Orchestra Chorus from 1966 (at which point it was still Glasgow Choral Union), Currie led them on an American tour in July 1976. In 1966 he also  formed a small-scale specialist chamber group, the John Currie Singers. In 1974 he succeeded Arthur Oldham as director of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, culminating in a memorable performance of Schoenberg's Gurrelieder.  and later followed him in charge of the Scottish Opera Chorus.

He adapted Hogg's little-known novel Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner as a libretto for Thomas Wilson's opera, premiered by Scottish Opera in 1976, conducting some of the performances.

In 1986 he took the post of conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, in succession to Roger Wagner.  He stayed there for five years, before returni9ng to Scotland.

From a new base in rural Perthshire, north of Blairgowrie,  Currie conducted and directed productions of opera at the Perth Festival, where his repertoire included works by Mozart (Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Magic Flute), Gluck (Orpheus and Euridice), and Britten (the Church Parables - Curlew River, Prodigal SonBurning Fiery Furnace - and Albert Herring).

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