A Baton in the Ballet and Other Places
Released in 2015, A Baton in the Ballet and Other Places is the first volume of Kenneth Alwyn’s memoirs and covers the period from his childhood to completing his tenure as conductor with the Royal Ballet.
Described by BBC Radio 3 as ‘one of the great British Musical Directors’, Kenneth Alwyn’s journey from a young orphan selling horse manure at tuppence a bucket in the Depression of the 1930s to conducting for Margot Fonteyn and the Royal Ballet, presenting the BBC’s ‘Friday Night is Music Night’ for thirty years and conducting Decca’s first stereophonic recording of Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’ is ‘the story of a young boy who went to sleep each night to the sound of classical music played on his dad’s wind-up gramophone.
The boy had never seen an orchestra, but he dreamed of becoming a conductor.
His dream came true.
Is Anyone Watching?
Released in 2017, Is Anyone Watching? is the final volume of his memoirs and brings his story up to the present day.
‘Is Anyone Watching?’ is the second part of Kenneth Alwyn’s memoir ‘A Baton in the Ballet and Other Places’ and covers his conducting experiences since leaving the Royal Opera House. After working as Musical Director in London’s West End on productions including ‘Half a Sixpence’, ‘Charlie Girl’ and ‘Camelot’, Kenneth’s career continues to take him around the world, this time to Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan Concert Hall with Rudolf Serkin and Leopold Stokowski and then on to North America with the Mantovani Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.
Closer to home, Kenneth recalls working with Cleo Laine, Dudley Moore and Clifford Curzon and describes how he brought together Bryn Terfel and the Welsh National Opera for a new recording of ‘Hiawatha’ for Decca in the 1990s.
Reflecting on a life that has been filled with music and travel, Kenneth’s memoir also honours the many wonderful musicians he has met along the way: ‘In the beautiful garden of music, I am but a gardener. A lowly servant of an art that can touch us like no other.’
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