Bernard Keeffe

Singer, conductor and broadcaster Bernard Keeffe, Chairman of the Anglo Austrian Music Society, discusses his work with émigré musicians including Ferdinand Rauter, Paul Hamburger, Hans Keller and Berthold Goldschmidt, who became his mentor in conducting. He also speaks about his early musical life in London and at Bletchley Park, his musical activity for British Intelligence in Japan and his work at the BBC.

In Part 2, Bernard discusses selected items from the society’s archive at Senate House Library. These include programmes of concerts performed by Paul Hamburger, Walter Goehr, Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears, Richard Tauber and many others.


Bernard Keeffe was born in 1925 in Woolwich, South London. During the Second World War (1944 – 47) he served in the Intelligence Corps at Bletchley Park, as well as in India and Japan. He studied at Clare College Cambridge from 1947- 1951, where he was active as a singer and conductor.

Bernard then joined the Glyndebourne Chorus from 1951-52 and the BBC Music Staff in 1955. He became Controller, Opera at Covent Garden in 1960 until 1962 and went on to become conductor of the BBC Scottish Orchestra from 1962- 64. As a freelance conductor he worked with many leading orchestras.

He also became a popular author and presenter of BBC programmes about classical music, a Professor of Conducting at Trinity College of Music and Chairman of the Anglo-Austrian Music Society.

Interview with Bernard Keeffe Part 2

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