Percy Pitt (1870-1932)
Percy Pitt studied music at the Leipzig Conservatory before being appointed Chorus Master for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1906; within a year he had become first an assistant conductor and then Principal Conductor. Here, in 1908, he co-operated with Hans Richter in a highly-regarded production of Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung in English; Pitt shared the conducting with Richter, who thought very highly of him (as did Sir Edward Elgar).
He remained with the company until 1915, when he joined the Beecham Opera Company as conductor. There he remained until 1920, when he became director of the British National Opera; he stayed with that company until 1924. Also in 1924 he returned to Covent Garden, again as Principal Conductor.
In 1926 he became General Musical Director of the BBC, remaining there until he was succeeded by Sir Adrian Boult in 1930.
Pitt was the first British musician to conduct the Ring in the opera-house, preceding both Thomas Beecham and Albert Coates. His association with Richter gives special interest to his recordings of extracts from the Ring made for HMV.