Conductor Raymond Leppard

A Conversation with Bruce Duffie


With our general nature to place people and ideas into nice neat little boxes, it is often the assumption that conductor Raymond Leppard is always the guy who does Baroque music.  But that would be a tragic shortening of his talents and experience for his repertoire is varied and his performances encompass a large swath of the music which has been written in several periods.  This is not to say his Baroque performances are not special.  They have a knowledge and conviction that only comes through long study and considerable practical experience.

His wide-ranging interests and accomplishments can be sampled in the biography which I've placed at the end of this interview.  A genial guest, he was polite but firm in his greeting and challenged any inquiry that seemed, to him, to be off-point or superficial. 

He was in Chicago at the beginning of 1986 to conduct the Chicago Symphony and we had arranged to meet backstage at Orchestra Hall.  [He would return in later years to lead the Chicago Opera Theater.]  A veteran of many press interviews, he made it clear I was not to ask him questions unless I was expecting an answer for the record.  In other words, he would not put up with any kind of pre-interview which would waste his time.  Thus he was pleased when I assured him we were 'rolling' already. . . . .

Bruce Duffie:  Let me start with a question about...

Raymond Leppard:  [Interrupting]  Are you recording?  Don’t ask me before the event, will you?  Don’t tell me what you’re going to ask unless you want me to answer?

BD:    No, no, I’m rolling.

RL:    Okie-doke, fine.

BD:    Let me ask you why the huge interest in Baroque music?

RL:    Oh, I’m interested in every sort of music.  Any music that works is grist to my mill.  Just the fact of having done so much of it; when you start in the profession
which I’ve been at now a very long time, I regret to tell you — you do what you’re hired to do.

BD:    Was Baroque music forced on you?

RL:    No, it was not forced, but it fell out that way.  I got more and more employed to do, engaged, to do early music, and it’s a lifelong enthusiasm of mine.  But I’m not in that sense a specialist.  I’m not at all a specialist.

BD:    You don’t want to be known as a specialist?

leppard RL:    Not at all, no!  But I certainly got myself known as a Baroque specialist, and it’s really not true.  I’m a generalist.  I’m really quite consciously a generalist, because I have a profound belief that if you play Bartók well, you’ll probably play Bach well, or better.  And if you play Bach well, you’ll probably play Brahms better, too, and I think there’s a very good reason for it.  It’s because in studying one style for performance and finding out how a composer puts a piece together in his own technique and his own time, you learn something about the style of writing and you get into the composer’s way of thinking — how he’s written the work and how he would compose.  When you then go to somebody else of a totally different period, you find a totally different sort of ordering of music and a totally different ordering of sounds, totally different attitude towards the expressive power of music.  Now that surely can do nothing but widen your appreciation, not of the music itself — of course it will do that — but also your appreciation of the ways of doing things.  I find that many, many more avenues of interpretation and of possibilities in music are constantly being opened, even now!  I’ve been at it well over thirty years — forty years, nearly, you know.  Certainly forty years since I started.

BD:    The line from Baroque through Romantic to Contemporary...

RL:    [Interrupting]  I don’t see a line in music at all.  I think music happens in its time and you have to understand the time.  If you’re really going to perform it, you have to understand the time it was in.  You do that with Bach just as you do with Schoenberg.

BD:    So, it changes abruptly then, every few years?

RL:    No.  Of course one influences another and you can be aware of those, but I don’t see any really long line in music.  I think that’s a very dangerous and really fundamentally a nineteenth century view.  The nineteenth century thought there was a long line in music.  Obviously, if you believe in progress, you have progressed from somewhere, and you’re going to progress to somewhere.  That was why it was fashionable in the nineteenth century to write books about music of the future, especially if you were as arrogant and vain as Wagner was because guess who’s going to write the music of the future?

BD:    [Mock-Officiously]  "Here’s what I’m going to do!" [Both laugh]

RL:    Right!  I spoke with a young man the other day in San Francisco who wrote a very bad composition, but I had to have supper with him and I was trying to say something polite.  He was an absolutely unknown youngster and he was telling me about a ballet he was writing which was scored for something like eight trombones and five flutes, two violas and eight percussion players.  So I said, “Well, I hope you’re not expecting to live off the royalties.
  “Oh,” he said, “I don’t even care if it’s performed.  I’m writing for the future.”  I never thought I would hear a youngster say that at this time!  I would have expected it in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, but even a stupid twentieth century composer shouldn’t say that because God knows, people don’t write for the future anymore, thank heaven!

BD:    Do we write for today?

RL:    If we don’t, we’re fools!

BD:    Did Bach write for his day?

RL:    Of course he wrote for his day.

BD:    Then why has it lasted three hundred years?

RL:    Well, it hasn’t lasted in that sense!  All that you can say about it, which is enough, is the vitality.  We still see vitality in Bach’s music.  We sense that it’s there, and that’s wonderful.

BD:    Even though we are so completely different?

RL:    I don’t think there’s any great merit, any added merit in Bach’s music for having lasted two hundred years or so.  It had its merit in Bach’s day and it has its merit now.  I don’t think it has any added merit for being two hundred years old.

BD:    Is there any music that has merit today that didn’t have merit when it was being written, that really was music of a later generation?

RL:    For a later generation?  Not really.  I think you get composers, especially the very high-powered minds — and I'm really particularly thinking of Beethoven
and usually it happens toward the end of their life.  But you see, Beethoven never lacked an audience.  Every one of Beethoven’s compositions, to the end of his life, was awaited with bated breath by Vienna, and they often didn’t understand it!  Especially the last quartets.  We now know that they are superlative compositions, but even today, not everybody can listen to the last quartets of Beethoven, and in Beethoven’s own day also, very few people.  His mind was extremely complex and rarefied in his relative old age.

BD:    Then we have kind of caught up with him?

RL:    Well, I wonder if we have.  How often do you actually sit down and listen to the C Sharp Minor Quartet and get an ecstatic response?  It’s a very serious undertaking, listening to that work, I find.  I have to put my mind to it like nobody’s business in order to come to terms with it, just as I think you have to do with the B Minor Mass.  The really formidable minds — and there’s a list of them — write extremely complex and difficult music still.  It’s no easier now.  I don’t think it’s any easier than it was.

BD:    Is writing music much more complicated or is it just the same?  The same complicated?

RL:    It’s the same complicated.

BD:    Even though we now have more instruments and more possibilities?

RL:    Yes, oh yes.  Sure.  A composer is representing vitality — whatever it is — sentient vitality:  the life about us that you see in a painting, that you see in any manifestation.  You see it in people all the time and it’s representing that in terms of sound, and at varying degrees of intellectual intensity, it seems to me.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:    You say that the public in Vienna always eagerly anticipated each new work of Beethoven.  Why does the public today not eagerly anticipate each new work of any modern composer?

RL:    Well, they do up to a point, you see.  They did with Stravinsky, I think.  He’s only been dead a little while, but every work of Stravinsky was greeted with baited breath.  Not everybody understood it.  I think that was true of Britten; it was true of Strauss.  And we’re talking of people who’ve only been dead a very little while, so we mustn’t get things out of perspective.  They are our contemporary people.  They do of Tippett; every work of Tippett is greeted with a worldwide hush, now, isn’t it?

BD:    I think so.  But these are major figures.  Were there more composers who were anticipated before than there are now?

RL:    Oh, I think possibly.  And of course you’ll always have various strata of composers, the vitality of whose music may well fade after a certain time.  There was a large number of Beethoven’s contemporaries who were perfectly worthwhile people in their own time, but their music doesn’t really stand up as well and it never did!  I think its vitality was for its own time, like certain jazz, like certain dance music, like all that sort of thing, and it lasted for as long as it lasted.  I don’t think one should be dissatisfied, nor should they.  Look at the vitality, for example, of a smart group like Les Six.  Isn’t it interesting how the best composer of that group was without doubt Poulenc.  His music is still played and it seems still to contain a lot of vitality.  You can still perform a lot of Poulenc’s music and people will be engaged; people will respond.  Their own inner vitality will respond to its vitality.  That’s certainly not true of Milhaud.  Scarcely a work of Milhaud will stand up anymore; also Honegger.

BD:    Then is it wrong for me to enjoy a work of Mihaud or Honegger?

RL:    Not at all.  We can all have our peculiar enthusiasms.  I’m just saying — I’m now generalizing
that when you program a work of Milhaud, in general it doesn’t meet with a very warm public response.  There will always be people with particular enthusiasms, and thank God for them!

BD:    When you’re conducting a work, what do you expect out of the public?

leppard RL:    Oh, I expect nothing out of the public, except I hope to please them.  I hope to involve them.  I can’t perform a piece unless I sense vitality in it and I rehearse an orchestra in order to reveal as much of that vitality as I can, the amount I have come to believe the work has.  And in the performance I would hope to transmit that vitality, that energy, that image of life — whatever it is.  Whether it’s Offenbach or Beethoven it doesn’t matter.  It is what it is, and if it still has life in it, I would hope to transmit that to an audience.  If some of them miss it, well tant pie, that’s just tough.  The more who get it, of course the better I’m pleased, but that’s the process, I think.  It’s a sort of evangelical thing, if you like, musical evangelism.  Well, it is!  That’s what a preacher does with religion.  He’s trying to convey the vitality in the religion, as he sees it, to the people he’s preaching to.

BD:    So how much of music is art, and how much is entertainment?

RL:    Oh, it’s all entertainment.  

BD:    Nothing noble about it?

RL:    Are they opposite?  I find that not a sensible question.

BD:    I’m looking for the balance of art and entertainment.

RL:    I would have thought that in order to have a balance you have to have two extremes, but they’re not two opposites.  Every composer in the world has been in the entertainment business.  We are all in the entertainment business.  Entertainment is to engage people.  That’s what entertainment’s about.

BD:    Even Wagner and his noble art?

RL:    Yes, sure!  Sure!  In the last event, if you don’t entertain people, they won’t come, and Wagner minded tremendously about audiences.  For all he said he wrote for the future, every work he produced was immediately performed, and he knew very well he had a captive audience, one that followed him and everything he did.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:    Do you enjoy making recordings?

RL:    Yes, I do.  I find that it’s a different sort of process, but yes, I enjoy it.  It’s very tense, making recordings.  There’s little time to make them in, and if you’re going to produce the image that you want to, you must be efficient.

BD:    You don’t find an artificiality about it?

leppard at COT RL:    No.  It is, of course, artificial in the sense that you’re missing one very strong element, and that is audience reaction.  But that’s all right, too, because you can sort of substitute for that in some way.  You know whether you’ve got it right or whether you’ve got it wrong, or halfway in between.

BD:    Is that even more in the opera, where you’re missing the visual?

RL:    Opera recording?  No, in some way it’s easier to record operas, because the imagination can work on the plot.  I’ve just done Dido with Jessye Norman and that is really totally involving and very engaging, just as it would have been had we been rehearsing it for the stage.  It was a marvelous experience of concentration, and certainly the drama of it was very real.  We all felt that.  We didn’t even record it in one go, but we all knew it so well and that is the part of recording process in that you don’t necessarily even record the thing in one long line.  It’s a different sort of mental process, mental discipline, involved.

BD:    You’ve conducted stage works.  How much do you get involved in the stage mechanics?

RL:    Oh, completely.  I wouldn’t ever conduct an opera unless I were at all the stage rehearsals.  I wouldn’t do it any other way.  There are conductors who go in at the last minute, and do five performances of Butterfly just like that!  Well, that’s easy enough to do, but what’s the point of doing it, unless you’re involved in the theater of it?  It isn’t just conducting an orchestra to combine with singers; it’s to make the thing work on stage as well.  It’s a joint thing.  But I’ve been involved with theater since I was an undergraduate, and even before that, when I was a boy.

BD:    Do stage directors think, “Oh, there’s that meddlesome Leppard again”?

RL:    No.  Well, if they do then we wouldn’t work very well together.  But I’m not meddlesome in the sense that I would interfere.  I’ve been very lucky, you see.  I’ve always worked with people like Peter Brook, and Peter Hall, and Peter Wood, and other great directors.  That’s a collaboration which is very valuable and very wonderful to be involved with.

BD:    When you’re bringing a work of Monteverdi or Cavalli to the stage, how much tampering do you allow yourself with the score and with the direction?

RL:    I would have start the whole process, wouldn’t I?  There’s so little left of them, originally.  I allow anything, as long as it makes it work.  That’s my job is to make it come alive theatrically and musically.  The original only consists of a vocal line and a bass line, so you’ve got to do something or it sounds like a child’s lesson.

BD:    But is it a mistake then to try and recreate what Monteverdi heard?

RL:    I think I do recreate what he heard.

BD:    I mean with modern instruments, and augmented instruments.

RL:    Why should it be?

BD:    There’s the great debate between the people who are so much involved in the original instruments and the purity of the line, and the people who bring it up into modern times.

RL:    Purity has nothing to do with music!  The moment people aspire to the condition of the Virgin Mary, they are sunk in music!  That’s the one thing music is not, is pure.  There’s no purity in it.  That’s nothing to do with it at all!  This sort of thing has been going on for so long, this wretched, inadequate view of what authenticity is.  It’s been going on for so long, I’m weary of the discussion of it.  I really am absolutely fed up with it, because people are so stupid about it!  It just doesn’t begin!

BD:    Okay, then I won’t weigh into the mire!

RL:    No, please don’t.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:    How do you balance your career:  opera, concerts, recitals, etcetera?

RL:    You assess them as the invitations come up.  You try and get some sort of balance going.  I would hate to be a year without doing an opera, and I never am, but I would hate to do too much opera.  Well, I wouldn’t hate to do it, but I think it’s a pity to deprive one’s self of the chance of coming here, for example, and doing a good program like this, which is an interesting one.

BD:    Once you do this program with the Chicago Symphony, if you do the same program with an orchestra which is perhaps not quite as brilliant, do you find any regrets, or is there any way to bring them up to that brilliance?

leppard RL:    Well, every orchestra has its own characteristics.  This orchestra has virtually no technical problems in music.  They’re to the last man stunningly good players, and also stunningly nice people to work with.  But I’ve very rarely had that experience of doing the same program, so to speak, the next week, with a less good orchestra.  It doesn’t arise.  You always try to realize the best potential that any group has.  It doesn’t matter how weak they are, or if they have weak sections.  Our job, it seems to me, is to make an orchestra, no matter what it is, play a work with a single point of view, as near as possible.  It has to be somebody’s, so it has to be the conductor’s point of view.  You nevertheless use the vitality that everyone in the orchestra gives you, and often you get quite creative ideas coming from the orchestra, from the way they play, even from their spoken observations.  That’s all part of this growing-together in rehearsal that is the sign of a very good orchestral encounter between conductor and musician.  Generally speaking I find it works wonderfully well.  The musicians wish to give.  They wish to play; playing is their life.  And if you’re careful for that wish and you respect that, they’re actually on your side; they’re on music’s side, to begin with, so then you’re all actually trying to do the same thing.  But it doesn’t matter how good they are.  In fact it’s sometimes a slight problem.  It could very easily happen in Chicago, which is full of distinguished players, that they might have some difficulties in concentrating on a single point of view of a work.  I’ve never come across it here; I don’t find it.  But you could imagine that it could be.  I remember Gareth Morris who was the first flute at the Philharmonia Orchestra — I’m talking about thirty years ago — got across some German conductor who tried to tell him how to play the flute solo in Daphnis and Chloé.  It’s one of those solos that’s so damned difficult anyway that you’re lucky to have someone who can play it all!  And if you can play it as well as Gareth used to play it, or certainly as Donald Peck would play it here, you take what you get.  If there’s any problems, then you might say, “Well, what about breathing there?” or, “Phrase that; take a little more time, if you wish, over that,” or so and so.  But to stop and sort of dress the man down because he’s not playing as this German conductor thought it should be played, that was a disaster!  That provided a complete frost on the whole proceedings.

BD:    Is there a corollary between that and trying to teach recitatives in operas?

RL:    No.  You seem very keen on making comparisons, and I don’t see any comparison in that, no.

BD:    I guess I do like to make comparisons.  You, then, see each individual piece as an entity?

RL:    Absolutely!  Each individual series of rehearsals and each individual function in music is a separate thing.  Of course they’re connected because it’s the same people that are doing it, but I don’t see any need to make comparisons.  I find them confusing.  I don’t find them productive.  I can’t compare Beethoven and Mozart.  I don’t know how to begin!

BD:    Can you compare performers at all?  Are voices better today than they were forty years ago?

RL:    No, I don’t.  They’re different because the public needs a different thing.  For instance, if you hear a very early recording of the Budapest Quartet playing the Dvorak E Flat Quintet, I’ve never heard such portimenti played!  And this is one of the great, famous quartets, playing with a series of slides that you could barely tolerate today, but that was regarded as great playing in those days!  And we are not to say that it isn’t great playing, because it is.  It’s just different.  The artist was responding to the public taste at the time, and the public liked that.  And so that’s right; that’s where the entertainment comes in.  We have to respond to that!

BD:    How much does the public dictate taste in what you will play and how you will play?

RL:    It doesn’t know it’s doing it; it just happens as fashions come.  For example, who would have thought, thirty years ago, that Mahler would pack every house that he’s played in?  He certainly wouldn’t have thought it, and I wouldn’t have thought it when I was beginning!  We didn’t hear Mahler symphonies when I was starting off.  Now you hear them every day.  They’re pretty well bread pudding, aren’t they?

BD:    I’m afraid so.  They’re almost passé, actually!

RL:    Yes, and of course the fashion will change.  There’s no question.  The Mahler day will fade — not completely but it will fade a little, which is okay, too, you know.

BD:    Let me ask you to look into your crystal ball.  Who is on the ascendancy?

RL:    Oh, I don’t know.  I would have thought...  I really don’t know at all.  As long as the threat of total destruction and war is as strong as it is, I think the need for people, when they come to concerts, to have occasionally — perhaps often — some sort of spiritual uplift is very strong.  I think this is one of the reasons why Mahler is so much listened to.  He was obsessed and very concerned with spiritual matters, with heavenly matters and earthly matters.  It concerned him very much in his own tortured sort of life, and he wrote about it.  Almost all of his works have elements of this.  So many of his songs are about ghosts.  I never really thought about that, but they are, always.  His obsession with Faust, his obsession with the Veni Creator Spiritus and all these spiritual hymns about holy spirits did obsess him.  He was very concerned with life after death and spiritual values.  And I think you see every sign, especially in the young, that our time is not palpably given to the idea of permanence the way the nineteenth century was.  The idea of permanence is very much a desired thing, but the evidence is that our society isn’t very permanent.  It will either blow itself up or it will have a terrorist come and do it.  One atom bomb will do the lot, won’t it?

BD:    [wistfully]  Perhaps so...

RL:    All these things are possibilities.  Look at the movement in Europe now against the atomic warfare.  It’s phenomenal!  Look at the flourishing of small religious cults, supposing the big churches have somewhat failed, and I think they have a good deal failed to meet this particular need of our time, of some sort of spiritual reassurance.  So the young, especially, seek reassurance in gurus and various cults like Moonies and spoonies, and when they despair altogether, they take to drugs, because they escape into a sort of spiritual world that way — most unfortunately, because they’ll probably kill themselves in the process.  I think this represents a tremendous need for our time of some sort of spiritual reassurance.  It isn’t comfort; it’s just reassurance.  This is why, after all, we look to the old music for confirmation of values.  If we can say that something that was written two hundred and fifty years ago, and it’s as alive today as the B Minor Mass, then surely something must go on!  It must be better than we fear.  You know?  That’s why this great cult for older music.  Our grandparents would never have heard the B Minor Mass.  It wasn’t played.  It’s more recently than you can imagine!  The nineteenth century only knew the pieces of Mozart in G minor, because the pieces of Mozart in G minor approximated into some sort of romantic view of Mozart’s suffering as an artist, and that’s characteristic of nineteenth century thought.  They never played Così Fan Tutte.  It was played for the first time in the twenties in America, one performance at the Met!  It’s amazing to think of!  But now it’s played everywhere, and everyone rejoices in it quite rightly, because the vitality is there.

BD:    But even when it goes out of fashion in the opera house and is never produced, the records will still be there, and now the videotapes will still be there.

RL:    Well, it won’t go out of fashion, because he shows no sign of failing.

BD:    But other works, something that will go out of fashion, and will not be done for thirty, forty, fifty years.  People who want to see it, the perhaps very small minority who wants to see it or hear it will be able to do so, because of the mechanical reproduction.

RL:    Yes, of course.

BD:    Does this not lend any kind of lineage to it, or permanence?

RL:    No, not lineage.  All I’m saying is that people look to older things for confirmation and for reassurance of values, which the present scientific side of our life, especially as far as destruction is concerned, would seem to negate.

BD:    Is music reassuring to you?

RL:    Oh, absolutely.  Absolutely!  I’m not a very conventionally religious person, but I am, I think, profoundly religious somewhere, and music has a lot to do with it.  It has almost everything to do with it.  I have profound faith and music will always win out.  Every time I do music, it has reaffirmed this.  And it’s a wonder to me, but no, it never fails!

BD:    You’re always discovering new things?

RL:    Always!  New wonders, yes.  That’s why I think you very rarely find an unhappy musician.  If they are, they’ve got ingrown toenails, or something tiresome like that.  [Both laugh]

BD:    Or a frustration at not being able to perform?

RL:    Or maybe that, yes.

BD:    Thank you for coming to Chicago and good luck with these concerts.  

RL:    Not at all.  It's my pleasure.  I'm having a good time.

Raymond Leppard

Born: August 1, 1927 - London, England

The eminent English conductor, Raymond (John) Leppard, was born in London and grew up in Bath. He studied harpsichord and viola at Trinity College, Cambridge (M.A., 1952), where he also was active as a choral conductor and served as music director of the Cambridge Philharmonic Society.

In 1952 Raymond Leppard made his London debut and then conducted his own Leppard Ensemble. He became closely associated with the Goldbrough Orchestra, which became the English Chamber Orchestra in 1960. He also gave recitals as harpsichordist, and was a fellow of Trinity College and a lecturer on music at his alma mater (1958-1968). His interest in early music prompted him to prepare several realisations of scores from the period. While his editions provoked controversy, they had great value in introducing early operatic masterpieces to the general public. His first realisation, Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, was presented at the Glyndebourne Festival under his direction in 1962. In the following years he subsequently prepared more operas by Monteverdi, as well as operas by Cavalli. During this period, he made appearances as a guest conductor with leading European opera houses and festivals. In November 1969 he made his USA debut conducting the Westminster Choir and New York Philharmonic, at which occasion he also appeared as soloist in the Haydn’s D major Harpsichord Concerto. In 1973 he became principal conductor of the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra in Manchester, he position he retained until 1980.

Raymond Leppard, one of the most respected international conductors of his time, has appeared with nearly all of the world's leading orchestras in his four decades on the podium. An exceptional, versatile musician who has garnered praise internationally for his orchestral and operatic performances, his talents are extensive: a prolific recording artist, with 200 recordings to his credit; an author: he has published two books; a composer: his realisations of Cavalli and Monteverdi are legendary, and he has composed a number of film scores.

leppard Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for the last decade, Raymond Leppard celebrates his thirteenth season with the Symphony. Guest engagements last season included the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, a major tour of European capital cities with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Camerata Academica Salzburg, and L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

In February 1997 Raymond Leppard recorded two CD’s for the Decca label: a disc of all-American music of the 20th century and an all-Mozart disc with pianist Pascal Rogé. Previous Indianapolis recordings for Koss Classics include Dream Children featuring Elgar's youth-inspired music; an all-Schumann disc, Vaughan Williams' Antarctica Symphony, an all-Tchaikovsky disc and an all-Beethoven disc. Raymond Leppard has recently made two recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: Beethoven's Choral Symphony and an all-Franck disc. BBC Radio Classics have released Leppard's Mahler Das Lied von der Erde with Dame Janet Baker and the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra, with additional recordings of Debussy, Roussel, Fauré and Tippett.

Raymond Leppard has an impressive list of conducting credits. He has appeared with the New York Philharmonic on seven occasions, toured with the Chicago Symphony and Detroit Symphony and has conducted many other major orchestras including Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, the Israel Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony (including the Last Night of the Proms), and in all European capital cities and in Japan.

In the great opera houses of the world highlights include Britten's Billy Budd at the Metropolitan and San Francisco Operas, Alceste and Alcina at the New York City Opera, the world premiere of Nicholas Maw's Rising of the Moon at Glyndebourne Opera, where he has had a long association, and performances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and in Paris, Hamburg, Santa Fe, Stockholm and Geneva.

Raymond Leppard’s recordings have earned him such international prizes as the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, a Grammy Award, a Grand Pro/Am Music Prix du Disque and the Edison Prize. He has composed a number of film scores including the music for Lord of the Flies, Laughter in the Dark and Hotel New Hampshire. His second book, Raymond Leppard on Music: An Anthology of Critical and Personal Writings, was published by Resources in 1993.

Raymond Leppard has been honoured by The Queen with the CBE, and has received honorary degrees from Purdue University (1992), the University of Indianapolis (1991), and Butler University (1994). In 1973 the Republic of Italy conferred upon him the title of Commendatore della Republica Italiana for services to Italian music.

© 1986 Bruce Duffie

This interview was recorded in Chicago on January 8, 1986.  Portions were used (along with recordings) on WNIB in 1987, 1992 and 1997.  This transcription was made in 2008 and was posted on this website that September. 

To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.  To read my thoughts on editing these interviews for print, as well as a few other interesting observations, click here.

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Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001.  His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.

You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests.  He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago.  You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.