Rudolf Kempe, Principal Conductor to some of the leading orchestras and opera houses in Europe, was one of the last representatives of the great German conducting tradition of the 19th and 20th centuries. Throughout the world he was highly regarded for his baton technique which in its brilliance and clarity was second to none; for the authenticity of his interpretations of an uncommonly wide repertoire in both opera and concert; for his qualities as an educator and guiding spirit of orchestras; and for his integrity as a musician and as a man. His relationship with the music scene in England, dating back to 1953, was extraordinary. It was based on mutual respect between him and the musicians, and on a deep understanding of mentality and shared artistic aims. It lasted almost a quarter of a century, until his death in 1976.