Gareth Morris

Gareth Charles Walter Morris (13 May 1920 - 14 February 2007) was a British flautist. He was the principal flautist of a number of London orchestras including the Boyd Neel Orchestra before joining the Philharmonia Orchestra. He was the principal flautist of this orchestra for 24 years and Professor of the Flute at the Royal Academy of Music from 1945 to 1985. Morris was known for using a wooden flute, at a time when most other players had switched to using metal flutes. ...show more

Gareth Charles Walter Morris (13 May 1920 - 14 February 2007) was a British flautist. He was the principal flautist of a number of London orchestras including the Boyd Neel Orchestra before joining the Philharmonia Orchestra. He was the principal flautist of this orchestra for 24 years and Professor of the Flute at the Royal Academy of Music from 1945 to 1985. Morris was known for using a wooden flute, at a time when most other players had switched to using metal flutes.

Gareth Morris was born in Clevedon, Somerset, England and was educated at Bristol Cathedral School. He began to play the flute when he was aged 12, and subsequently studied privately with Robert Murchie. At 18 he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where his main teacher was Charles Stainer. At the Academy he met Dennis Brain and became his lifelong friend. Morris was best man for Brain's wedding. Morris's Wigmore Hall debut was in 1939 and he played in chamber music groups, including the Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble and the London Wind Quintet. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Air Force and was principal flute in the RAF Symphony Orchestra.

Morris succeeded Arthur Gleghorn as principal flute in the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1948. He played at Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953. The Philharmonia Orchestra had been founded by Walter Legge in 1945 but in 1964 Legge announced that he intended to disband it. However the members dissented from this and agreed that the orchestra should continue, that it should be self-governing, and that it should be renamed the New Philharmonia Orchestra. In 1966 Morris became chairman of this orchestra with Otto Klemperer as the principal conductor. Morris had a close and deeply respectful relationship with Klemperer, but his relationship with Karajan has been described as "at best cordial, but he respected the conductor's talent".

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