Vernon George "Tod" Handley CBE (11 November 1930 – 10 September 2008) was a British conductor, known in particular for his support of British composers. He was born of a Welsh father and an Irish mother into a musical family in Enfield, Middlesex. He acquired the nickname "Tod" because his feet were turned in at his birth, which his father simply summarised: "They toddle". Handley preferred the use of the name "Tod" throughout his life over his given names.   Handley attended Enfield Grammar School.While in school, he watched the BBC Symphony Orchestra in its studio in Maida Vale, where by his own account he learned some of his conducting technique by observing Sir Adrian Boult. Later the two corresponded in the early 1950s and met around 1958. He spent a period in the Armed Forces and then attended Balliol College, Oxford, where he read English philology and became musical director of the University Dramatic Society. He also studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London, where his performing instrument was the double bass (in addition to the trombone and violin). After graduating he worked as a nursery gardener, bricklayer and petrol pump attendant during the day, studying and conducting amateur orchestras and choirs in the evening.He then became Sir Adrian Boult's pupil. During their first meeting he "was put through the worst two hours of counterpoint and harmony that I've ever faced" and was then asked how he would conduct a page of a score that Boult put in front of him, Sir Arnold Bax's Third Symphony, which Handley happened to have studied. Handley later conducted that work in the first concert he gave in London, with the symphony orchestra of Morley College. Handley remained a devoted champion of the music of Bax throughout his career.
  Vernon George "Tod" Handley CBE (11 November 1930 – 10 September 2008) was a British conductor, known in particular for his support of British composers. He was born of a Welsh father and an Irish mother into a musical family in Enfield, Middlesex. He acquired the nickname "Tod" because his feet were turned in at his birth, which his father simply summarised: "They toddle". Handley preferred the use of the name "Tod" throughout his life over his given names.   Handley attended Enfield Grammar School.While in school, he watched the BBC Symphony Orchestra in its studio in Maida Vale, where by his own account he learned some of his conducting technique by observing Sir Adrian Boult. Later the two corresponded in the early 1950s and met around 1958. He spent a period in the Armed Forces and then attended Balliol College, Oxford, where he read English philology and became musical director of the University Dramatic Society. He also studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London, where his performing instrument was the double bass (in addition to the trombone and violin). After graduating he worked as a nursery gardener, bricklayer and petrol pump attendant during the day, studying and conducting amateur orchestras and choirs in the evening.He then became Sir Adrian Boult's pupil. During their first meeting he "was put through the worst two hours of counterpoint and harmony that I've ever faced" and was then asked how he would conduct a page of a score that Boult put in front of him, Sir Arnold Bax's Third Symphony, which Handley happened to have studied. Handley later conducted that work in the first concert he gave in London, with the symphony orchestra of Morley College. Handley remained a devoted champion of the music of Bax throughout his career.
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Vernon Handley
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