Born: 17 November, 1925 Schenectady, New York USA
Sir Charles Mackerras has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the opera house, on the concert platform and in the recording studio. Though born in New York State, he was raised in Australia and graduated from the Sydney Conservatory at the end of WWII. After a short career as an oboist, Mackerras travelled to Europe to further his studies as a conductor.
His meeting with the legendary Czech maestro Vaclav Talich was a turning point in his musical life. Mackerras was able to study in Prague in the brief period between the end of the war and the Communist takeover in 1949. While in Prague, Mackerras developed what has become a lifelong passion and affinity for Janacek. Prague was also Mozart's favourite city and Mackerras' Mozart soon became noteworthy as well.
His career has neatly straddled both opera and concert. He is a scholar of renown, having published prose and complete critical editions of several operas. Mackerras has been a leader in the historic performance movement, bringing the scholarship of a lifetime to both modern and period instrument orchestras.
In the recording studio Mackerras has recorded nearly all of Janacek's output, most notably an award series of opera recordings for Decca with the Vienna Philharmonic. His discography is as broad as it is long and his recordings win praise for their lively coloristic details as well as the unerring sense of rhythm he brings to his work. Mackerras was knighted in 1979 for his services to music.