Sir Thomas Beecham (1879-1961) was a famous English conductor and impresario. He was educated in Oxford and studied composition privately in London and in Paris under Moritz Moszkowski in Paris but he was a self-taught conductor with no formal training. He founded both the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and became artistic director of Covent Garden Opera. He had a great international influence and was the major influence on the music life of Britain. For his achievments he was knighted in 1916. He is responsible for introducing the British public to many Russian operas and the Ballets Russes.