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Conductor Laureate

Raymond Leppard

Conductor Laureate Raymond Leppard served as Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony for 14 years, from 1987 to 2001.

Conductor Bio

“The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra family is heartbroken by the loss of our dear friend and Conductor Laureate Raymond Leppard. While his tenure as Music Director will be remembered for raising the artistic profile of the orchestra through international tours, recordings, and broadcasts, his influence on the ISO continues to this day. By making Indianapolis his permanent home, Maestro Leppard was able to serve as a champion of classical music in this city, conducting concerts, teaching, and inspiring others to cherish the music he loved. He put an indelible stamp on this city and this orchestra. We will think of him fondly every time we hear or perform one of his favorite works. Our thoughts are with Maestro Leppard’s family and close friends as they grieve the passing of this generous artist and wonderful man.” — CEO James Johnson

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of our Conductor Laureate, Maestro Raymond Leppard. He uplifted the ISO with striking artistic insight and inspiration, and touched so many people through his love and stewardship of classical music. He will be profoundly missed, but his legacy will live on through his writings, his recordings, his compositions and arrangements, and most especially in the musicians whose lives were remarkably influenced by his artistry.” — Music Director Krzysztof Urbański

“The world of music has lost one of its foremost interpreters. Our beloved ISO has lost a cherished visionary. I have lost a true and dear friend. The joy that is Raymond Leppard shall be forever remembered.” — Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly

Read the ISO’s full statement on the death of Conductor Laureate Raymond Leppard here.

Conductor Laureate Raymond Leppard served as Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony for 14 years, from 1987 to 2001. During his tenure with the Orchestra, he led eight recordings, two tours to Europe and initiated Indianapolis On-The-Air, a nationally syndicated radio broadcast of Indianapolis Symphony performances that now airs on more than 250 stations across the United States.

In addition to his 14-year tenure as Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and long association with the English Chamber Orchestra, Raymond Leppard appeared with the New York Philharmonic on numerous occasions, toured with the Chicago and Detroit symphonies and conducted many other major orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony (including the Last Night of the Proms), as well as in all European capital cities and Japan.

In the opera houses of the world, highlights for Raymond Leppard included appearances at the Metropolitan and San Francisco operas, the New York City Opera and Glyndebourne Opera, where he was a frequent guest. He also appeared at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and in Paris, Hamburg, Santa Fe, Stockholm and Geneva. In the late 1950s, Mr. Leppard accepted a post at Cambridge as University Lecturer in Music, beginning a distinguished joint career as academician and performer.

A prolific recording artist, Raymond Leppard earned such international prizes as the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, a Grammy® Award, a Grand Pro/Am Music Prix du Disque, and the Edison Prize. Mr. Leppard composed a number of film scores including the music for Lord of the FliesLaughter in the Dark, and Hotel New Hampshire. His second book, Raymond Leppard on Music: An Anthology of Critical and Personal Writings, was published by Resources in 1993.

The Queen of England honored Raymond Leppard with the title Commander of the British Empire (CBE). For his services to Italian music, the Republic of Italy conferred upon him the title of Commendatore della Republica Italiana. In America, he received honorary degrees from Purdue University, Butler University, and the University of Indianapolis. Born in London, Raymond Leppard was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. He became a U.S. citizen in 2003.