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Desert Island Discs

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.

36:43

Harry Rabinowitz

Kirsty's castaway this week is the conductor and composer Harry Rabinowitz.

His list of credits and collaborations read like a Who's Who of 20th century music - Gracie Fields, Charles Aznavour, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Matt Monro & Barbra Streisand are only a handful of the stellar names who've benefitted from his talents. He's conducted a lot of movie scores too, including Chariots of Fire and The Talented Mr Ripley; indeed the late director Anthony Minghella described him as "the UK's best kept secret".

It wasn't an illustrious start; his first job was playing sheet music for prospective customers in a Johannesburg department store - he was fired after 6 weeks. His first go at conducting was enhanced not by an elegant baton of the finest Maplewood but a rolled up old newspaper.

He's almost a hundred years old now, still plays the piano every day and only retired from the concert platform six years ago at the age of 94.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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