Obituary: BBC Conductor and Educator John Poole Dies, Aged 85

By Logan Martell

Former BBC Conductor John Poole has passed away at the age of 85.

Born on February 5 in Birmingham, England, Poole began as a conductor during his time as an undergraduate at Oxford; he later directed concerts as an organist at London University Church, and as Musical Director at University College in London.

In 1968, Poole became the conductor of the B.B.C. Symphony Chorus, going on to become Director of the B.B.C. Singers in 1972, and conducting his first Prom one year later. Since then, he has conducted the Symphony Chorus and the Singers in hundreds of broadcasted performances, throughout Britain, North and South America, Europe, Israel, and the Gulf States. He held this position until 1989, and in 1990 served as Chief Guest Conductor of the Singers.

An advocate for new music, Poole often commissioned worked from established composers and younger ones. In 1996, he founded the Academie Internationale in Parthenay, France, a workshop geared towards singers and conductors.

In 2001, he joined the conducting staff in the School of Music at the University of Indiana. Poole retired to France in 2009, where he spent the remaining years of his life.