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Music Made MeBy Maestro Raymond Leppard

He arrived at Cambridge at the dusk of a period of artistic originality and intellectual freedom of the likes of Duncan Grant, Dadie Rylands, Clive and Vanessa Bell (and her sister, Virginia Woolf), Maynard Keynes and Ruth Fermoy. Raymond Leppard and his distinguished contemporaries were molded as much by breaking out of the Bloomsbury Group’s shadow as by emulating their “examples of endeavor and honesty of purpose.” In his new book, Music Made Me, Maestro Leppard relays poignant observations and delightful anecdotes of episodes and relationships that gave form to his life and career; at the same time, informing as to how such friendships, personalities and influences shaped the impressions Raymond has left on classical music and theater in the UK and America.

Raymond transcended the so-called “authentic movement” in the academic and performing classical music worlds of post-war Europe; rather, he gave re-birth to the 17th century Italian operas by Cavalli and Monteverdi to wide acclaim. He co-founded the English Chamber Orchestra and lent his talents and energies to numerous historic music festivals, such as in Norfolk, Stratford, Glyndebourne and Manchester — all the while engaging, observing and befriending the most famous patrons of such wonderful festivals: the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and HRH the Prince of Wales, who kindly wrote the Foreword to Music Made Me.

Maestro, Grammy-winning recording artist, music director, composer of film scores, Fellow of Trinity (Cambridge), Commander of the British Empire — all of them prestigious products of a distinguished career on two continents. However, it is clear from Raymond’s recollections in Music Made Me that the into-the-wee-hours exchanges and debates, weekly croquets and picnics, impromptu quintets and dramatic readings, visits to Sandringham and several embarrassing moments all seem to eclipse — in both intrinsic value and influence — the numerous posts, awards and accolades of Raymond’s nine decades.

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