Sir Charles Mackerras Legacy

Welcome to the Mackerras Legacy web site, about one of the greatest orchestral and operatic conductors in musical history, Sir Charles Mackerras.

14 July 2020 marks ten years since Sir Charles Mackerras died.

To honour and remember his life we present four unpublished audio features: an interview conducted in 2010 by Ambrose Hall on the art and technique of conducting; reflections on Charles’ early life from his sister, Joan; an interview with Sir Charles created and edited by distinguished producer Jon Tolansky for; and a series of three interviews by Jon Tolansky with great musicians Valerie Masterson, David Corkhill and Thomas Higgins about their recollections of working with Charles Mackerras.

This site is designed to present special features and projects commemorating his life and music:


Charles Mackerras Interview with Jon Tolansky

A special interview recorded in 2004.

Produced for, Jon Tolansky asks Sir Charles about his life and work. We would like to thank Jon for his wonderful contribution.


Charles Mackerras Interview with Ambrose Hall

A special interview on conducting technique, never before published.

Recorded on 4 February 2010 by Ambrose Hall shortly before Sir Charles’ passing on 14 July 2010. This interview focuses on conducting style and technique. In the interview, Ambrose Hall and Sir Charles discuss how he studies and prepares for rehearsals and performances, his favourite conductors, working with Benjamin Britten and many other topics.



Joan Mackerras Reflects

Sister of Charles reflects on his early life

Stories about the oboe, harmony lessons, inception of an idea called Pineapple Poll, transcribing music, Charles’ education and early career.



Jon Tolansky Interviews Great Musicians

A series of interviews with great musicians about Sir Charles Mackerras.

Produced for, Jon Tolansky asks Valerie Masterson, David Corkhill and Thomas Higgins about their recollections of working with Sir Charles Mackerras.



Charles Mackerras, Master Conductor – A Profile

wfmt-mackerrasRadio documentary produced by Jon Tolansky

This feature presentation complements the 2016 radio documentary produced by Jon Tolansky, “Charles Mackerras, Master Conductor – A Profile“, which was distributed by the WFMT Radio Network – Chicago and syndicated around the world. Celebrating Sir Charles’ life, career and exceptionally wide-ranging achievements, the documentary includes 28 musical excerpts and interviews with numerous musicians who worked with him. Here we publish the transcript and audio interviews.

INTRODUCTIONBackground, overview, contributors, production.
DOCUMENTARYComplete script with interview clips and resources.

Documentary proudly funded by the
Buonacorsi Foundation.


Distributed by the
WFMT Radio Network, Chicago



The Mackerras Legacy

A fantastic and comprehensive legacy of recordings – and two living conductors.

Two conductors in the next generation to which Charles passes the baton are Drostan Hall, Music Director of the Camerata Chicago Chamber Orchestra and Alex Briger AO, Conductor, Australian World Orchestra.




Tenth Anniversary of Sir Charles death

Tenth Anniversary of Sir Charles death
14 July 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of Sir Charles Mackerras' death. To honour and celebrate his life and remember his legacy we present three unpublished audio features - an interview conducted in 2010 by Ambrose Hall on the techniqueRead more ...

Sir Charles' Birthday

Sir Charles' Birthday
Sir Charles would have been 91 today, November 17.   Pictures above taken in Suffolk in 2007. Picture below taken in 2008 in a green room, London. Read more ...

Pristine Classical CD Shostakovich 9th

Pristine Classical CD Shostakovich 9th
Pristine Classical has released a new CD of Mackerras conducting the Shostakovich Symphony No. 9 with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival in 1962. To order this CD, see Pristine Classical PASC487. CHARLES MACKERRAS (1925-2010) SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 9 SCRIABINRead more ...

New Charles Mackerras web site just launched

New Charles Mackerras web site just launched
A new web site has just been launched as an online hub for links and information about the life and work of Sir Charles Mackerras.   The web site features a recently published book written Nigel Simeone and John Tyrrell which includesRead more ...