Quentin Poole is a British conductor, specialising in contemporary, chamber and choral music. His performances have been broadcast extensively on BBC Radio 3, television and on CDs by NMC Recordings. He has conducted at many of the major venues and festivals in the UK including Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre and Buckingham Palace. He is one of only 300 lifetime honorary Fellows of the Royal Academy of Music.
His conducting debut for the BBC was a live broadcast of the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen with Endymion. With Endymion he has given many first performances of new music, and has directed a wide range of repertoire including Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King, Alexander Goehr’s Sing Ariel! and song cycles by Elliott Carter with singers such as Sarah Leonard and Eileen Hulse. He recently conducted premieres of 14 new works by British composers, recorded for Endymion‘s thirtieth birthday celebration double CD Sound Census.
Quentin has prepared orchestras for well-known conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davies, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Pierre Boulez, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Paul Daniel and James MacMillan. As a narrator and performer with the most perfect of timing, Quentin has also made something of a speciality of Walton’s Façade, which he has performed with Sir Charles Mackerras, the late Lady Walton and the New London Chamber Ensemble. For many years Quentin was a specialist coach for the National Youth Orchestra.
Quentin was a founder member of the British chamber ensemble Endymion, and since he stopped playing oboe with them in 1986, he later became their principal conductor of contemporary chamber music. He has directed many of the group’s ground-breaking Composer Portrait concerts: Alexander Goehr, Hans Werner Henze, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, John Woolrich and Sir Harrison Birtwistle are among the composers whose works Quentin has conducted in their presence. Artists he has directed include Philip Langridge, David Wilson-Johnson, Eileen Hulse, Prunella Scales, Ian Partridge and Sarah Leonard. Leading chamber musicians such as Krysia Osostowicz, Chi-chi Nwanuko, Stephen Stirling, Michael Dussek and Mark van de Wiel are among the core players of the ensemble.
Quentin also appeared frequently with the König Ensemble between 1988–1994, including to fulfil several invitations back to the Montepulciano Festival for performances of Kurt Weill operas, which they have subsequently recorded.
Quentin has directed vocal and choral groups in a variety of repertoire at the Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Peterborough Cathedral, St George’s Chapel Windsor and Buckingham Palace (where he introduced vocal music to the Investiture ceremonies conducted by HRH The Prince of Wales). He has directed evensong in St Alban’s Cathedral, and in 2002 he directed the chamber orchestra in a 40th anniversary performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, under the Peter Stark’s lead, supporting soloists David Wilson-Johnson and the late Philip Langridge.
As an oboist, Quentin was appointed principal oboist with the City of London Sinfonia, aged only 23. He was also guest principal with The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of Ballet Rambert. He co-founded the London Pops Orchestra and has produced over 100 film and television soundtracks, often in collaboration with composer John Keane. Quentin also appeared as a guest on BBC Radio 4’s flagship programme Desert Island Discs.
Quentin joined the Purcell School in 1988 as Head of Department for woodwind, brass, percussion, voices and harps. In 2001 he was appointed Director of Music.