End notes:

1-Anne Pimlott Baker, 'Desmond Dupré', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography;

2-Anne Pimlott Baker, 'Desmond Dupré', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Stuart W. Button, Julian Bream: The Foundations of a Musical Career, (Aldershot:Scholar Press 1997), p. 34

3 -Peter Sensier 'This Month's Cover Portrait', BMG November 1951, p. 30; "Desmond Dupré". Musical Times, (Musical Times Publications Ltd. 115 1580): 875. October 1974; Stuart W. Button, Julian Bream: The Foundations of a Musical Career, (Aldershot:Scholar Press 1997), p. 34

4-Peter Sensier 'This Month's Cover Portrait', BMG November 1951, p. 30; Anne Pimlott Baker, 'Desmond Dupré', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Stuart W. Button, Julian Bream: The Foundations of a Musical Career, (Aldershot:Scholar Press 1997), p. 34.

5-Anne Pimlott Baker, 'Desmond Dupré', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

6-Stuart W. Button, Julian Bream: The Foundations of a Musical Career, (Aldershot:Scholar Press 1997), p. 26.

7-Stuart W. Button, Julian Bream: The Foundations of a Musical Career, (Aldershot:Scholar Press 1997), p. 28.

8-Chris Kilvington and Lorraine Eastwood, '50 Years on the Planks: Julian Bream Talks About His Life and Work', Classical Guitar October 1996.

9-Paul Thwaites, "Desmond Dupré, lutenist to Alfred Deller, and much more besides.", Semibrevity, 2015, https://www.semibrevity.com/2015/07/desmond-dupre-lutenist-to-alfred-deller-and-much-more-besides/

10-Peter Sensier 'This Month's Cover Portrait', BMG November 1951, p. 30; "Desmond Dupré". Musical Times, (Musical Times Publications Ltd. 115 1580): 875. October 1974.

11-Peter Sensier 'This Month's Cover Portrait', BMG November 1951, p. 30; Paul Thwaites, "Desmond Dupré, lutenist to Alfred Deller, and much more besides.", Semibrevity, 2015, https://www.semibrevity.com/2015/07/desmond-dupre-lutenist-to-alfred-deller-and-much-more-besides/

12-Peter Sensier 'This Month's Cover Portrait', BMG November 1951, p. 30; Paul Thwaites, "Desmond Dupré, lutenist to Alfred Deller, and much more besides.", Semibrevity, 2015, https://www.semibrevity.com/2015/07/desmond-dupre-lutenist-to-alfred-deller-and-much-more-besides/

13-Desmond Dupré, Wikipedia

14-Peter Sensier 'This Month's Cover Portrait', BMG November 1951, p. 30; Paul Thwaites, "Desmond Dupré, lutenist to Alfred Deller, and much more besides.", Semibrevity, 2015, https://www.semibrevity.com/2015/07/desmond-dupre-lutenist-to-alfred-deller-and-much-more-besides/

15-Paul Thwaites/Thea Abbott, "Desmond Dupré, lutenist to Alfred Deller, and much more besides.", Semibrevity, 2015, https://www.semibrevity.com/2015/07/desmond-dupre-lutenist-to-alfred-deller-and-much-more-besides/

16-Stuart W. Button, Julian Bream: The Foundations of a Musical Career, (Aldershot:Scholar Press 1997), p. 34.

17-Peter Sensier 'This Month's Cover Portrait', BMG November 1951, p. 30; Paul Thwaites, "Desmond Dupré, lutenist to Alfred Deller, and much more besides.", Semibrevity, 2015, https://www.semibrevity.com/2015/07/desmond-dupre-lutenist-to-alfred-deller-and-much-more-besides/

18-Paul Thwaites, "Desmond Dupré, lutenist to Alfred Deller, and much more besides.", Semibrevity, 2015, https://www.semibrevity.com/2015/07/desmond-dupre-lutenist-to-alfred-deller-and-much-more-besides/

19-Tony Palmer, A Life on the Road (Macdonald & Co. 1982), p. 135.

20-Paul Thwaites, "Desmond Dupré, lutenist to Alfred Deller, and much more besides.", Semibrevity, 2015, https://www.semibrevity.com/2015/07/desmond-dupre-lutenist-to-alfred-deller-and-much-more-besides/

21-Paul Thwaites, "Desmond Dupré, lutenist to Alfred Deller, and much more besides.", Semibrevity, 2015, https://www.semibrevity.com/2015/07/desmond-dupre-lutenist-to-alfred-deller-and-much-more-besides/

22-The Times, 25 August, 1974, p. 15, col. f.

Desmond John Dupré

19 December 1916, London — 16 August 1974, Tonbridge, Kent)


Desmond John Dupré was primarily an English lutenist, although a proficient multi-instrumentalist of early instruments. He was a prominent figure in the 20th-century revival of early music and played and recorded with several consorts. He was known particularly for his recordings on lute and viola da gamba, notably with counter-tenor Alfred Deller. Additionally, for a very short period of time, he was Julian Bream's third instructor on the classical guitar and then joined The Julian Bream Consort much later on when Julian was an established professional musician.

Dupré was born in London, England and was the third child of Frederick Harold Dupré, an analytical chemist, and Ruth Clarkson, a violinist.[1]  Dupré had been playing the classical guitar since the age of twelve but was later on persuaded to pursue science. He enrolled in St. John's College (University of Oxford) in 1936 and graduated in 1940 with a degree in chemistry. He worked on penicillin while he was a research chemist in the Glaxo laboratories during the war.[2]  At the end of the war, Dupré decided to change his attention to music once more and started to study at the Royal College of Music in 1946.  He studied the cello with Ivor James and harmony with Herbert Howells.[3]  He then took his musical education and applied it to his interest in early music and its authentic instruments. He developed a significant interest in the viol and taught himself how to play it. His first professional engagements were with the Boyd Neel Orchestra in 1948 as a guitarist and as a cellist. [4]  In 1949, he made the decision to dedicate himself to the guitar and apparently never played the cello again.[5]


In 1947, Dupré was asked to act as the main educator in Julian Bream's classical guitar studies using the correct Tárrega method. [6]  The year prior, Julian had been taught classical guitar technique by Dr Perott who had been using an outdated method. The lessons were short-lived and within a few weeks, Dupré stated that he could no longer teach the young Julian due to conflicting musical engagements.[7]  The latter valued these lessons and commented in an interview in 1996: "He was good for me; I only had four or five lessons, but he taught me to practise scales and arpeggios and encouraged a disciplined approach to practising …." [8]  Much later on in 2015, when Julian was retired, he reflected on his lessons with Dupré in conversation with Thea Abbott "They weren’t conventional lessons, rather they were coaching sessions. We played duets on our guitars and he took me through a tutorial book (Roch’s School of Tárrega: A Modern Method for the Guitar) which was very good for me. He encouraged me to see my practice as a discipline rather than just an opportunity to learn new pieces. When I left my lessons with [Dr Boris] Perott I was in a hell of a state and having to relearn everything. Desmond rebuilt my confidence, he listened to me, suggested improvements in my technique. We only had about four or five sessions together, but it was great … Desmond played an old Panormo, gut-strung, and he played with the flesh – not nails. His playing had great charm and he made a good sound, relaxed and evocative. [9]   Their paths would cross again later.

Dupré formed a duo with Alfred Deller in 1948 and they became in great demand as they performed all over the United Kingdom. [10]  He made his first of many recordings with Deller in 1950, accompanying him on the guitar and later on the lute. Despite being a duo, Deller always received primary billing. When Alfred Deller then decided to create the Deller Consort, Dupré joined the consort.                      They initially recorded 78rpm and later recorded several long-playing phonograph records on the HMV and Vanguard record labels.[11]   In 1951, Desmond Dupré was featured by himself on the cover of BMG, a magazine dedicated to instrumentalists. Despite all his work as a soloist and in other musical groups, he did become best known for his work with Alfred Deller who he continued to accompany till shortly before the time of his death in 1974.[12]  "Like Deller, Dupré was very much interested in a more authentic style of performance. Instead of continuing to play lute repertoire on the guitar, he taught himself the lute, and his subsequent performances with Deller were predominantly on that instrument, including his 1951 Wigmore Hall debut."[13]


Dupré established many long-lasting musical partnerships that created many opportunities for side projects during his time with Deller. One such partnership with Bream was the opportunity to play incidental music for two guitars by Eduardo M. Torner in two Lorca plays "Yerma" and "Blood Wedding" for the BBC in 1949.[14] "We stayed friends and he played gamba [cittern and lute] as a member of the Julian Bream Consort, and we made many broadcasts and recordings together over the years."[15]  Another such partnership was a guitar trio with John Watson and Les Williams (John Williams' father) in 1952.[16]  Additionally, he played many solo engagements such as radio, television and recital programmes although it does not appear that he ever released a recording as a soloist for a phonograph record. His most significant recording was Bach's sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord, with Thurston Dart on the keyboard. Dupré premiered a Handel concerto for lute and harp reconstructed by Dart. Another recording where he was the soloist in an ensemble was Francois Couperin's Pièces de Violes.[17]

Throughout the 1960 and early 1970s, he continued to be a regular performer with many leading early music groups, including The Julian Bream Consort, the Jacobean Consort of Viols, and Musica Reservata. He also recorded for phonograph records with many of these groups.[18]  Dupré performed at least twice on television with The Julian Bream Consort, in 1961 and 1964.


It appeared that Bream and Dupré enjoyed their musical friendship because they routinely came together for concerts, BBC radio and television sessions and recordings for phonographic recordings. Bream commented in A Life on the Road that Dupré "had the driest sense of humour of anybody I ever met, and at times, when things might be going a bit haywire, he could let drop a remark with the perfect timing of a court jester which would have us all in stitches in no time flat". [19]  There is an early television programme where both Bream and Dupré play a piece simultaneously on the same lute (a piece for one lute and four hands). Bream gave Dupré a playful, boyish grin as he squeezed in next to him to gain access to the instrument. Dupré gave him a very wry side-look and off they went.

Desmond Dupré was proposed and elected to be the first president of the Lute Society, He held this post from 1956 to 1973[20].


At the time of his passing on the 16th of August, 1974, Desmond Dupré was 57 years of age. He died suddenly in the Kent and Sussex Hospital, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, following a heart attack while running towards a train at the station. He was on his way to join Alfred Deller’s summer school in Provence. [21]  Upon Dupré's passing, Deller wrote in tribute: "It is impossible for me to imagine how my career would have developed without his scholarly help and superb gifts as an accompanist."[22]  He was survived by his wife Catherine Lane Poole and his two children Sophie Dupré and John Dupré. He was interred at Frant, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom.

Partial discography (Julian Bream associated):
Monteverdi: Il Ballo Delle Ingrate with Alfred Deller (c. tenor), Desmond Dupré (viol), Julian Bream (lute)(Vanguard, 1957)
An Evening of Elizabethan Music with The Julian Bream Consort (RCA Soria label, 1963)

Rodrigo, Vivaldi, Britten with Julian Bream and the Melos Chamber Orchestra (RCA Victor Red Seal, 1964)



JulianBreamGuitar.com

Desmond Dupré - Lutenist/Multi-instrumentalist

Professionally played and recorded with the lute, viola da gamba, classical guitar and cittern.