CHIEF conductor of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra and former Farnham school boy, Sir Jeffrey Philip Tate, was knighted for his ‘services to British music overseas’ in the New Year Honours List.
Jeffery, who is keeping busy conducting Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at the new Hamburg Concert Hall with the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra and the New Philharmonia Choir, moved to Farnham in 1950, where he attended Wrecclesham Primary School and Farnham Grammar School (where he was head boy), before moving on to Cambridge to read natural sciences.
He qualified as a medical doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital in London but never became a practicing doctor. Instead he pursued a career in music, studying at the London Opera Centre.
He became a repetiteur and coach at the Royal Opera House in London, under the instruction of Sir Georg Solti, and has had a distinguished musical career ever since - he is currently principal conductor of the Hamburg Symphony orchestra, and has been since 2009.
Alongside this he is president of the Farnham and Bourne Choral Society, and has in the past, held positions with the English Chamber Orchestra (principal conductor), the RAI Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France and the Royal Opera-Covent Garden.
As well as principal guest conductor of the Orchestra Nazionale della RAI, in Italy, he was appointed music director of the San Carlo Theatre of Naples.
Born with spina bifida, a condition where the spine does not develop properly, leaving a gap in the spine, Jeffery has for a number of years raised awareness of the condition and has been president of Shine Charity (formerly UK Spina Bifida charity), since 1989.
Jeffery also suffers from kyphosis, a condition of the spine that causes the top of the back to appear more rounded than normal.
In recent news, by the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, it was announced that Jeffery will continue his journey as its conductor through to 2019.