Over the course of the past thirty years, Sir Arthur Sullivan's reputation as the foremost British musician of the Victorian era has undergone a renaissance, particularly with regard to his work beyond his partnership with W.S. Gilbert
While many aspects of Sullivan's career have seen a re-evaluation, there are areas that have not, and which this thesis seeks to address: Sullivan's career as a conductor and his direction of the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival have been largely ignored, possibly because they do not fit into the expected framework of the life of a musician who is best known as a composer of comic operas.
It is against this background that Sullivan's direction of the 1898 Leeds Festival is examined, together with its aftermath and his controversial dismissal in the late summer of 1899.Giventhe success that Sullivan had brought to Leeds, his popularity with audiences and performers alike, together with his proven abilities the Festival's General Conductor, his removal did not make sense. The circumstances surrounding this unanticipated event, the mythology that was constructed around it, and the deliberate denigration of Sullivan's reputation form the core of the enquiry.
Finally, the turbulent decade that succeeded Sullivan's removal is investigated, following the fortunes of the Leeds Festival and the men who were central to it, before the Great War temporarily terminated its activities