Nigel Simeone was born in London in 1956. He is a writer, broadcaster and teacher whose wide musical interests range from Bach to the twentieth century, as well as the history of conducting, music publishing and recording. He taught at the universities of Nottingham, Bangor and Sheffield, then at English Martyrs' Catholic School in Leicester until his retirement in 2019. In recent years he has given talks at the Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera, Opera North and LSO St Luke’s. He appears regularly on BBC Radio 3 (Record Review and Opera on 3) as well as making several programmes for the Radio 4 series Tales from the Stave. He is the author of books including Janácek's Works (1997), Paris: A Musical Gazetteer (2000), Messiaen (2005), The Leonard Bernstein Letters (2013), Charles Mackerras (2015) and The Janácek Compendium (2019). His first book, in 1980, was a tribute to Sir Adrian Boult and four decades later he came full circle with Ralph Vaughan Williams and Adrian Boult, a portrait of their remarkable working friendship published in 2022. Until it ceased publication in 2015, Nigel wrote regularly for International Record Review and he contributes articles to Opera and book reviews for Gramophone. He also writes programme notes for the Salzburg Festival, Wexford, the Royal Opera House and the Wigmore Hall, as well as booklet notes for Chandos, Hyperion, Deutsche Grammophon, Pentatone and Australian Eloquence.
Why Boult and Mackerras? Nigel was very fortunate with his first experience hearing a live orchestra: a concert in 1966 given by the LPO in Reading Town Hall with Boult conducting Brahms’s Third Symphony. As his interest in music broadened, he also developed a passion for opera – ignited by a performance of Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen in Düsseldorf during a school trip – and this was nurtured by regular visits to English National Opera during Charles Mackerras’s years as Music Director. Through their performances and occasional personal encounters, these two conductors played a central role in Nigel’s musical formation, his admiration for them has only grown over the intervening years, and he has been lucky enough to write extensively about both of them.
Though much of Nigel’s leisure time is also taken up with musical pursuits, his other hobbies include a model railway which attempts to recreate a station on the Southern Region in the 1960s, and reading detective fiction.