Jeffrey Tate (conductor)
Jeffrey Tate CBE (born 28 April 1943, Salisbury) is an English conductor.
Tate was born with spina bifida, and also has kyphosis. His family moved to Farnham, Surrey when he was young and he attended Farnham Grammar School between 1954 and 1961 gaining a State Scholarship to Cambridge University, where he directed theatre productions. Tate initially read medicine at Christ's College, Cambridge (1961–64), specializing in eye surgery. He later worked at St Thomas's Hospital, London, before giving up his clinical career to study music at the London Opera Centre. He became a repetiteur and a coach at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, under the tutelage of Sir Georg Solti.
Tate's international conducting début was with the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1979. In 1985, he was appointed the first principal conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra. He was named to the position of principal conductor of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden effective in September 1986, the first person in the House's history to have that title. He was principal conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra from 1991 to 1995. In 2005, he was appointed music director of the San Carlo Theatre of Naples, and served in the post through 2010. Tate's recordings include a series of Mozart piano concertos with Dame Mitsuko Uchida.
Tate has been president of UK Spina Bifida charity ASBAH (now SHINE [Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus, Information, Networking, Equality]) since 1989. A portrait of Jeffrey Tate is in David Blum's book Quintet, Five Journeys toward Musical Fulfillment (Cornell University Press, 1999). It originally appeared as an article in the 30 April 1990 issue of The New Yorker.
In October 2007, the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Tate as its next chief conductor. He formally took up the Hamburg Symphony post in 2009. In February 2014, the orchestra announced the extension of Tate's contract as chief conductor through 2019.
In private life, Tate is partners with Klaus Kuhlemann, a German geomorphologist, whom he met when conducting at Cologne from 1977. Tate has described this situation as being an outsider on two scores:
- "The gay world is immensely hung up with physical perfection for some curious reason ... Therefore, being disabled in that world is harder".