Composer Anthony Collins was born, Anthony Victor Benedictus Collins, in Hastings East Sussex which is located on the South Coast of England, on September 3rd, 1893. At the age of just seventeen Collins was already performing as a violinist in the Hastings Municipal Orchestra. he served in the army for four years and after the first world war in 1920 he began to study violin with Achille Rivardi, taking lessons in composition from Gustav Holst at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1926 Collins began his musical career as a professional and was principal viola player in the London Symphony Orchestra. For a decade, he remained with the LSO, and during this period performed in the Royal Opera House Covent Garden orchestra. In 1936 Collins decided to resign from both orchestra’s and began to concentrate upon conducting and composing, at first, he devoted his time to conducting opera but then moved on to conducting orchestras. He made his first appearance as a fully-fledged conductor in 1938, when he conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Edward Elgar’s 1st Symphony, the following year he founded and established the London Mozart Orchestra, it was at this time he recorded a series of performances for both EMI and DECCA records which were of Elgar and Sibelius.
He continued to record for DECCA between 1945 and 1956, his recordings becoming popular and revered. He also arranged and recorded many lighter pieces, one of which was VANITY FAIR a recording that is still popular to this day. In fact, a recording by the BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA was made available in 2005 on compact disc and this also became a firm favourite with lovers of music, the orchestra for this recording was conducted by John Wilson. In 1939, Collins re-located to the United States, initially to conduct orchestras in Los Angeles, but he soon began to work on film scores for RKO pictures, he achieved great success in this area and was nominated three times for best original music and score for three consecutive years, between 1940 and 1942, the composer being nominated for his work on, NURSE EDITH CAVELL, IRENE, and SUNNY, and during the late 1930,s and 1940,s became associated with films of Herbert Wilcox and his wife Anna Neagle in both England and America. In 1945, Collins returned to England and continued to conduct various British orchestras and began to write music for British film studios.
His most notable British scores being SIXTY GLORIOUS YEARS which he composed the year before he left for America, ODETTE, I LIVE AT GROSVENOR SQUARE, TRENTS LAST CASE and DERBY DAY, his U.S. scores included, TOM BROWNS SCHOOL DAYS, THE ALLEGHENY UPRISING which featured John Wayne, George Sanders and Brian Donlevy, DESTROYER which was a film starring Edward G Robinson and Glen Ford and MACAO which starred Robert Mitchum, Jane Russel and William Bendix.
Even though he had a hectic and frantically busy schedule, the composer still managed to find the time to work on his concert hall music and during his time writing for film also produced no less than four symphonies, two concertos for violin plus worked on a handful of Operas. In the late 1950’s he retired and returned to California in the United States, where he remained till his death on December 11th, 1963.