Wiki Abridged: Thomas Beecham

Thomas Beecham circa. 1910

Sir Thomas Beecham was born on the 29th of April 1879. He was a conductor as well as a impresario. He was mainly associated with the Royal Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic, although he was a part of other orchestras. His father was Joseph Beecham and his mother was Joséphine, maiden name Burnett. Beecham's family was quite rich, living off of a laxative factory built by Thomas Beecham's grandfather, who carried the same name, i.e, Thomas Beecham. Thomas (the conductor, not the grandfather) was born in Lancashire, but moved to a bigger home in Huyton, near Liverpool with his family. After his education at school, Beecham wanted to go to a music conservatoire in Germany, but when it was forbidden by his father, he attended Wadham College. He dropped out soon after after convincing his father, and began to learn composition and conduction on his own.
Beecham's first concert with a public was in October 1899, in St. Helen's. He had a few more conductions after, steadily rising in the arts. At just about the same time, Beecham's father had secretly placed his wife (Beecham's mother) in an asylum, and together with his older sister, Beecham released her and made his father pay annual alimony. The father was quite angry, so both children were disinherited.
Beecham joined the Imperial Grand Opera Company, and although the company wasn't as grand as its name, Beecham conducted five operas, as well as starting to write his own music, but he wasn't pleased with his work, so he focused on conducting. He was invited to join the New Symphony Orchestra, which he joined, and he proposed works that he enjoyed, rather than what the public knew and wanted. Beecham preferred less-known artists and operas during his entire career, and often promoted them. The New Symphony Orchestra grew and played in larger halls until Beecham parted ways with the orchestra because of differing opinions on artistic control. The orchestra still prospered without Beecham, and it would eventually become the Royal Albert Hall Orchestra.
Beecham started his own company, but instead of attracting players from previously existing orchestras, he recruited new musicians fresh out of music school, or from local bandrooms. This made for a very young orchestra, with an average age of 25. Beecham named his company the Beecham Symphony Orchestra.
Because of his tastes in unknown music that the public didn't necessarily want to see, the orchestra quickly lost money, and his limitations to the family fortune because of his father made the profits even less than what they were. In 1909, Beecham had finally made peace with his father, and the orchestra instantly went better, as did Beecham's career. He started on operas and conducted to his heart's content until he was longer performing but struggling to keep music important during the first World War.
When the war ended, he was faced with severe financial problems, mostly from the money spent on promoting music during the war, and he put his conduction on hold to get out of the mess he was in.
He came back in 1923 and resumed business as usual. His popularity grew and his relationships with orchestras grew too, until he even became known internationally, having tours in America and Canada.
He died of coronary thrombosis, a blood clot in simpler terms, at the age of 81, in his London flat. He died on the 8th of March 1961. He had been married three times. He married Uticia Celestina Welles in 1903, but divorced her in 1943. He married Betty Humby, a pianist 29 years younger, the same year. She died in 1958, and in 1959, Beecham married Shirley Hudson, his former secretary. Beecham died two years later. He had also had plenty of affairs, the most 'loyal' one being with Maud Alice (later Lady Cunard) which started in 1909 or 10, and ended when Maud was angry that when given the chance, Beecham hadn't married her but a girl younger than him in 1943.
Beecham had two sons with his first wife and one son with Dora Labbette, a misstress.

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