He studied at the conservatory in Leipzig, where his greatest teacher was Arthur Nikisch. He was appointed that conductor's repetiteur at the Leipzig opera and debuted as a conductor in 1904 with Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann. He worked at Semperoper Dresden 1907-8, with Artur Bodanzky at Mannheim in 1909, and from 1910 conducted with Eduard Nápravník at Saint Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre. He escaped with considerable difficulty from Russia in April 1919. He made his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1914 with Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.
Dynamic in his approach and especially successful in Russian music, he introduced many new works to audiences, including pieces by Vaughan Williams, Bax and Scriabin, and, perhaps most notably, led the first complete London public performance of The Planets by Holst. He headed the London Symphony Orchestra 1919-21 and from then through the early 1930s he frequently worked with that orchestra. He made important early contributions to the representation of orchestral music on the gramophone, beginning in 1920 with Scriabin's The Poem of Ecstasy and afterwards conducting many excerpts from Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen and (in 1923 and 1926) two complete recordings of Symphony No. 9 of Beethoven. He was the conductor for the 1930 premiere recording of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.
3 in D minor, with Vladimir Horowitz as soloist. In 1924-25 Coates shared conducting duties of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra with Eugene Goossens and was present at the birth of Vladimir Rosing's pioneering American Opera Company. In 1925 he gave the first stage performance outside Russia of Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Invisible City of Kitezh. His compositions include the operas Samuel Pepys and Pickwick, a piano concerto and a symphonic poem The Eagle, dedicated to the memory of his former teacher Arthur Nikisch, which was performed in Leeds in 1925. On 13 November 1936 the BBC broadcast the world's first televised opera, Coates' Pickwick, directed by Vladimir Rosing. Coates and Rosing launched a season of the British Music Drama Opera Company at Covent Garden the following week. He made regular appearances in many of the world's artistic centres until 1939. When World War II broke out, Coates moved to Southern California. There he founded the Southern California Opera Association with Vladimir Rosing.
A number of productions were mounted in conjunction with the W.P.A, among them Coates' opera Gainsborough's Duchess. In 1946 he settled in Milnerton, Cape Town, South Africa, with his wife Vera de Villiers. He died there in 1953. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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