Christopher Bishop (30 October)
Christopher Bishop was educated at Forest School, London, and read music and English at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar. He sang in the Cambridge Madrigal Society under its founder, Boris Ord. On graduating, he was appointed Director of Music at Magdalen College School, Oxford, and in 1959 at Bishop’s Stortford College. In 1964 he joined the International Classical Division of EMI as a recording producer, following the departure of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s creator Walter Legge.
His first major recording was of Messiah, with Charles Mackerras, in 1966. He became Chief Producer in 1973, making over 400 recordings, notably with Sir Adrian Boult, André Previn, Carlo Maria Giulini, Janet Baker, Yehudi Menuhin, David Munrow, and the King’s College Cambridge Choir.
He produced a number of first complete recordings of Elgar, in particular The Kingdom and The Apostles, and of Vaughan Williams, Sir John in Love and The Pilgrim’s Progress.
His main interest has always been in choral music. He founded the London Madrigal Singers while at EMI which broadcast regularly on the BBC Third Programme, and recorded Vaughan Williams’ Folksong arrangements for EMI. Members of the singers included James Bowman and Ian Partridge.
In 1959, Ricardo Muti, then Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, invited him to become its Managing Director, and he left the haven of EMI for the open sea of orchestral management. He left the Philharmonia in 1988 to become Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, until his retirement to Suffolk, where he continued to conduct choirs, sing, and play the organ.