Boult studied at Westminster School and at Oxford with Hugh Allen. He completed his training at the Royal Conservatory in Leipzig, where the observation of the work of conductor Arthur Nikisch left a lasting impression on him.
After his return to Britain he worked as a conductor among others at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. From 1919 to 1930 he taught at the Royal College of Music. From 1924 to 1930 he was director of the Birmingham Festival Chorus and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, from 1928 to 1931, he led the Bach Choir at the BBC. He became internationally famous as a conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra by 1930 until 1950. With the orchestra he joined 1933 in Vienna, 1935 in Boston and Salzburg, and in 1938 and 1939 in New York City. In 1936 he was conductor at the coronation of King George VI. , For which he was defeated in the following year, Knight Bachelor, and 1953 at the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II From 1942 to 1950 he also launched the legendary Proms in London. In 1944 he received the Gold Medal (Gold Medal ) of the Royal Philharmonic Society.
From 1950 he was conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. A post he gave up in 1957 and conducted from 1959 again, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In 1968 he took on in the Cathedral of Canterbury Edward Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius for television. In 1969, the Queen appointed him a Companion of Honour. In 1979 he ended his active career as conductor.
Boult was always in close contact with contemporary composers and conducted numerous world premieres: as the suite The Planets by Gustav Holst ( 1918), the Music for Strings (1935 ) and the Piano Concerto (1939 ) by Arthur Bliss, the A pastoral symphony (1922 ) and the 4th and 6th Symphony (1935 and 1948 ) by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Funeral Music (1936 ) by Paul Hindemith. Ralph Vaughan Williams dedicated his job, a masque of dancing, Herbert Howells, the Concert for strings and Malcolm Williamson, the Concert for organ and orchestra.
He wrote with Walter Emery The Point of the Stick, a Handbook on the Technique of Conducting (Oxford 1921, London 1949) and The Saint Matthew Passion, its Preparation and Performance (London 1949) and published in 1973 autobiography My own Trumpet.
In his honor, the concert hall of the Conservatoire (Birmingham Conservatoire ) was named the Birmingham City University in Adrian Boult Hall in 1986.