Everyone at the London Sinfonietta was greatly saddened to hear of the death of Sir George Christie.
In 1968 Sir George Christie founded the London Sinfonietta alongside Nicholas Snowman and David Atherton, remaining Chairman for the next 20 years.
David Atherton, our first conductor, worked closely with Sir George and had this to say:
“Without George, the organisation would not exist, pure and simple. When Nicholas and I dreamt up the idea of the London Sinfonietta, it was immediately clear that, to make it work, we would need a Board, and in particular a Chairman, with good connections, politically, financially and artistically. After leaving Cambridge, Nicholas had been doing some part-time work at Glyndebourne and he interested George in discussing the formation of the Sinfonietta. Our meetings were incredibly productive and George enthusiastically threw all his weight behind the idea, agreeing to become the first Chairman in the summer of 1967 prior to the opening concert the following January (featuring the world premiere of John Tavener’s The Whale).
He was the PERFECT Chairman, keenly interested in all aspects of the group. He never interfered in its day to day running, but always kept a watching and advisory brief. His enthusiasm was infectious, although he often protected us from ourselves by slapping down some of our most ludicrously ambitious ideas with somewhat sardonic and effective humour. He was always incredibly supportive of our efforts and contributed greatly to the “fun” atmosphere surrounding those early days.
He continued as Chairman for two decades providing rock solid support, always believing in the adventurous spirit which has characterised the Sinfonietta. His subtle, understated leadership provided a firm foundation for the organisation’s remarkable longevity.”
The London Sinfonietta’s current Chairman, Paul Zisman, says:
“I am honoured to be a successor to Sir George Christie as Chairman of the London Sinfonietta. His commitment to new music, and his style of leadership is something I and everyone at the London Sinfonietta take inspiration from. We continue to work tirelessly to maintain the traditions of this wonderful organisation to which he was so committed. Everyone at the London Sinfonietta, including the players, staff and Council, send our sincere condolences to Sir George’s family.”