Harold Clarkson, IMG Artists Senior Vice President and Director, had the great privilege to have worked with the incomparable Sir Neville Marriner for more than two decades. Harold has offered to share his reflections on Sir Neville, with whom he most recently toured (with Academy of St Martin in Fields) through Asia in March and April of this year.
We at IMG Artists are deeply saddened by the loss of Sir Neville, and thank him for his colossal gifts and legacy to music. Our sympathies are with his countless friends and colleagues and especially to his family.
I worked with Neville for 15 years at the Schmid office, it was always a great pleasure. Not only were the performances always wonderfully polished, but Neville was one of the most personable and pleasant people I have ever worked with.
Some years ago I was on the jury of the Cadaquez conducting competition together with him and Jorma Panula. Their comments on the candidates were amazingly sharp and pithy. Neville had an absolutely unfailing ability to see through anything that was in any way superficial. We had several great evenings out, although there was no way I could keep up with the amount of cognac consumed by both…
I had not seen him for about 3 years when he came to perform on his 90th birthday tour in Hannover, and when I went backstage after the concert his first words were “where were you?!”
We arranged, what would become, his final Asian tour just last April. He was in terrific shape, full of great humour, cheerful, and the same as always… no one would think he was over 90 at the time. In Tokyo on his day off we had arranged to go to dinner, but he had a cold. I immediately said he should rest and was about to leave but Molly [his wife] told me that he insisted that I come up to their suite. We spent the next two hours polishing off 2 bottles of wine and talking about all the musicians and people we both had known for so many years. He didn’t let me go until the minibar was empty.
His consummate musicianship, warmth, kindness, generosity, loyalty, and total lack of any exaggerated sense of self-importance will remain in fond memory for years to come.
– Harold Clarkson