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Magi , about me. Heinrich Conried - and the superbly organized and innovative Giulio Gatti-Casazza for 25 years from - It was said of Gatti-Casazza that he spoke no English - perhaps an exaggeration, and perhaps also a convenient role for him. During this period, Bing was frequently accused of avoiding giving authority to any eminent conductor, and fearing the competition of a Music Director.
Seidl studied at the Leipzig Conservatory from October Seidl then went to Bayreuth as one of Richard Wagner's copyists, living in Wagner's home. At Bayreuth, Seidl assisted in the creation of the first copy of the score of Das Ring des Nibelungen. As a consequence, Seidl was at the first Bayreuth Festival in the Summer of An important opportunity for Seidl resulted from Wagner's recommendation of Seidl as conductor of the Leipzig Stadt-Theater.
Seidl conducted in Leipzig from , to be succeeded by his Hungarian contemporary, the young Artur Nikisch The conducting reputation of Seidl was further consolidated during this tour. In , Seidl was appointed as successor to Leopold Damrosch, who had died as conductor of the German Repertoire at the Metropolitan Opera. Also, during the Summers, beginning in , Seidl conducted at the Bayreuth Festival. From , Anton Seidl succeeded Theodore Thomas as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, where he enjoyed a popularity of something like today's movie celebrities never experienced by Theodore Thomas.
As a consequence, the Philharmonic Society of New York experienced new financial prosperity. Also in , Anton Seidl organized a symphony orchestra, the Seidl Orchestra so named, that many thought would become a permanent New York feature, given the financial backing of the many Seidl admirers.
The conducting style of Seidl is said to have been characterized by free tempi and interpretation, even of established classics, such as Beethoven, which divided listeners and critics of the era. Walter Damrosch, as well as studying under his father, attended the Dresden Conservatory, where he studied with Wilhelm Albert Rischbieter and Felix Draeseke The Damrosch family emigrated to the U.
Walter began conducting both oratorio society and concerts under his father, Leopold who became conductor of the German repertoire at the Metropolitan Opera in At that time, Walter Damrosch was an assistant conductor, and advanced to the German repertoire under Seidl when Leopold Damrosch died in At the MET, Walter Damrosch was respected in his conducting of Wagner, although contemporary critics wrote that he did not reach the heights of contemporaries such as Hertz, and well short of the very different approaches of Mahler or Toscanini.
Walter Damrosch was also a successful symphonic conductor. Walter Damrosch had a successful relationship with Andrew Carnegie which resulted in Carnegie funding of the Symphony Society, and the funding of the construction of Carnegie Hall, opened in This was a Damrosch strength of which the New York Times said ' During the s, Damrosch progressively conducted symphony concerts less and less, and beginning , became Music Director for NBC radio.
At NBC, Damrosch lead a successful classical music appreciation program, directed at youths, and which continued until Damrosch was also a composer, including of at least four operas, including 'The Scarlet Letter' premiered in These works are generally forgotten today. In , Van de Stucken went to Antwerp with his parents. Van der Stucken's father, Frank - circa , was born and raised in Antwerp, and came to Texas. He therefore took the family back to Antwerp. There, Frank Van der Stucken Jr.
Frank Van der Stucken then went to Leipzig where he studied with Carl Reinecke during - as well as with Edvard Grieg and Hermann Langer — who was then Universitätsmusikdirektor at Leipzig. Van der Stucken learned conducting by the traditional European method of being a regional kapellmeister, first at the Stadttheater Breslau, Prussia now Wroclaw, Poland in In about , Frank Van der Stucken moved to New York where he succeeded Leopold Damrosch as conductor of the Arion Society a choral and orchestral society from Van der Stucken gave concerts with the Arion Society championing music of American composers.
Van der Stucken was appointed the first conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra serving from From about to about , he conducted frequently at the Metropolitan Opera.
Van der Stucken also continued his Cincinnati connection for many years. He directed the Cincinnati May Festival, from and in earlier years, the Festival was only every second year. Frank van der Stucken returned for the Cincinnati festivals from Europe. He had relocated to Germany in Van der Stucken's last trip to the United States was in was in October for celebrations of his 70th birthday with friends and admirers in New York and Cincinnati.
In the late s, Hertz entered the newly formed Raff Konservatorium in Frankfurt, studying piano and composition under Anton Urspruch In , Alfred Hertz began the usual path in Germany for learning conducting, by entering a regional theater, the Hoftheatre of the small town of Altenberg, Germany, 30 km south of Dresden.
Hertz stayed in Altenberg for three seasons, , before going to the Stadttheater of Barmen-Elberfeld renamed Wuppertal after , near Stuttgart during Hertz then went to the much larger city of Breslau, km east of Dresden Breslau now being in Poland, with the name of Wroclaw.
From , Hertz conducted at the Stadttheater Breslau where Frank Van der Stucken had also conducted during the season. In , Alfred Hertz made the large jump to the Metropolitan Opera, where he became the principal conductor of the Germany repertory, succeeding Walter Damrosch.
Hertz was well received in New York, although some critics thought his orchestra drowned out many of the singers. For a time, all German opera houses would not engage Hertz because of this. We can still hear Hertz's early interpretation of music from Parsifal in the September, recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic, beautifully restored by Mark Obert-Thorn on Naxos Historical 8.
During his tenure at the Metropolitan Opera, Hertz toured the U. Hertz left the Metropolitan opera at the end of the season, and went to Los Angeles that summer of to conduct at the Panama Exposition. Hertz then returned to Germany for the season, where he conducted, among others, the Berlin Philharmonic which also led to the famous Parsifal recording. In , Hertz came to San Francisco to direct a festival of Beethoven's music, when he was offered direction of the San Francisco Symphony.
In , when the U. Alfred Hertz died in San Francisco on April 17, He graduated in with distinction. The next year, in , Toscanini was traveling with a contract orchestra in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In a famous incident, the local conductor, Leopoldo Miguez had been rejected by the singers, and after several unsuccessful substitutes, Toscanini, the chorus master took over the performance of Aida on June 30, Following his South American successes, Toscanini conducted in Italy, but also continued playing the cello.
Toscanini was in the cello section of the La Scala premiere of Verdi's Otello in Toscanini devoted seven seasons to La Scala, and Toscanini then accepted a similar post with the Metropolitan Opera in the season. In New York, Toscanini was an instant favorite, and remained until the end of the season. In , Toscanini returned to support Italy during World War 1.
Following the war, in , Toscanini toured the U. In December , after being closed , Toscanini reopened La Scala with a famous performance of 'Falstaff'. Political developments also had an important effect on Toscanini's career. In the early s, Toscanini became disillusioned with Mussolini and with fascism and repeatedly refused to conduct the Fascist anthem Giovinezza.
At a memorial concert for Giuseppe Martucci in May, Toscanini was attacked by fascist blackshirts when he again refused to conduct Giovinezza. Toscanini then abandoned Italy.
Toscanini was the first non-German conductor at Bayreuth at the and festivals. In , Toscanini accepted the Bronislaw Huberman invitation to conduct the inaugural concert of the Palestine Symphony What more can be said or written about Toscanini, certainly the most famous conductor of the Twentieth Century? His precision, dedication to perfection, his tantrums another aspect of perfection , his dedication to the score although he, too, made changes , his memory and above all, his genius.
The reputation that his later performances, rather than slowing, as did other conductors late in their careers, such as Klemperer, Walter, Weingartner, instead sped up.
Some claimed they became too hard-driven. Although not always true, there is in my view some truth in this opinion. Toscanini's later Wagner did not speed up, and there was always a pulse in the music appropriate to the score. However, Toscanini's earlier BBC recordings, and particularly his New York Philharmonic recordings, which are few, also contain some of his best work.
His Philharmonic recording of the Beethoven Symphony no 7 remains, for me, unsurpassed. I recommend you download this legendary performance in Andrew Rose's superb restoration at www. In the s in Vienna, Bodanzky studied violin and composition with the young Alexander Zemlinsky , later known for his conducting and compositions.
Bodanzky graduated from the Vienna Conservatory in Beginning in the season, Bodanzky played in the first violin section of the Vienna Opera Bodanzky conducted opera and light opera in Paris, Russia, and Germany. In the seasons, Artur Bodanzky was conductor at the Neues Deutsches Landestheater in Prague, where Otto Klemperer also conducted from Bodanzky came to the U.
Bodanzky had been accepted by Toscanini, still then at the MET, with whom Bodanzky shared the conducting of the German repertoire until Toscanini's departure one year later. New York critics in favorably compared Bodanzky's performances of Wagner with those of Toscanini. Bodanzky also became conductor of the Society of Friends of Music which post he held Bodanzky became a U.
At the end of the season, Bodanzky resigned from the Metropolitan Opera, and in the next season, Joseph Rosenstock was appointed as principal conductor of the German repertoire.
This selection of Rosenstock, who had been conductor at the Stadtsoper, Wiesbaden 35 proved unsuccessful, and Bodanzky was retained again in the season, where he remained until his death in Bodanzky was noted for the rapid tempi of his conducting, including of the music of Wagner. He was also criticized for the number of cuts he made to scores, even in an era that extensive cuts to operas was the norm. Arthur Bodanzky suffered a heart attack on October 28, , and died one month later on November 23, at the beginning of his twenty-fourth season at the Metropolitan Opera.
Serafin studied violin at the Milan Conservatory. He played in the La Scala orchestra under Toscanini, beginning in about Serafin made his conducting debut at Ferrara, Italy in In the early s, Serafin also began conducting at La Scala.
His abilities were such that when Toscanini departed for the Metropolitan Opera in , Serafin increased his conducting, and was named Music Director, beginning in the season. Serafin introduced new works, such as conducting the Italian premiere of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier Serafin continued in this position until except when La Scala was closed because of World War 1. La Scala was then again closed In , Serafin joined the conducting staff at the MET in the Italian repertoire for ten seasons until the end of In , Serafin went to Rome to take over the Teatro Reale dell'Opera, which he resuscitated during the next decade, Serafin is said to be one of the first who realized the great talent of Maria Callas, and cultivated it.
Callas said that it was Serafin, who conducted her Italian debut, who guided her to become a prima donna With Maria Callas, Serafin did much to create interest in the 'bel canto', repertoire, substantially forgotten in opera houses by the mid-Twentieth century.
Most singers were happy under Serafin's direction, since he was typically positive, supportive, and attentive to their musical styles. Tullio Serafin died in Rome in February 2, , just short of his ninetieth birthday. Panizza studied at the Milan Conservatory.
Panizza's conducting debut was at the Rome Opera, in , where he held the position of assistant. Panizza conducted at La Scala, Milan from about , and then following the reopening Panizza shared the conducting duties with Toscanini following the reopening until Toscanini left for the New York Philharmonic in Panizza, continued at La Scala until the end of the season. Beginning in the season, he took over responsibilities as principal conductor of the Italian repertoire from Tullio Serafin.
Panizza remained at the MET until the end of the season, when he returned to Italy following the fall of Mussolini. Panizza's conducting style was vigorous and propulsive. Panizza died in Milan, Italy November 27, Erich Leinsdorf was born Erich J. Landauer in Vienna, Austria on February 4, Leinsdorf studied piano, cello and conducting at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, followed by the University of Vienna and the Vienna Conservatory.
Leinsdorf's ability to sight read scores at the piano, his memory, and his Italian language skills were advantages at Salzburg, and Toscanini became something of a mentor to Leinsdorf. Beginning in the season, following the death or Artur Bodanzky, Erich Leinsdorf was named principal MET conductor of the German repertory, which gave Leinsdorf's career an immediate boost during Leinsdorf found the Metropolitan Opera progressively more frustrating, with the few rehearsals and the negative atmosphere of opera house politics.
In in a controversial selection process in which candidates George Szell and Vladimir Golschmann were turned down 54 , Erich Leinsdorf was named Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra. Leinsdorf happily departed from the MET, but he was unlucky at Cleveland. First, in the season, with the US entering World War 2, Cleveland lost 22 musicians, whom Leinsdorf needed to replace. One of Leinsdorf's hires was George Goslee, Principal bassoon, who remained with the orchestra for 44 seasons.
Then, Leinsdorf himself was drafted into the U. Army , and so was not able to make his mark in Cleveland. Leinsdorf received his Army discharge in September, Meanwhile, the Cleveland Orchestra season had already been programmed with guest conductors including George Szell who had very successful series of November concerts. The Cleveland season became a horserace between Leinsdorf, Szell, and Vladimir Golschmann as to who would become permanent Music Director.
Szell made a strong impression on Cleveland that season, and Erich Leinsdorf gradually lost our to Szell. This may have seemed the destiny of George Szell, who continued with 24 seasons of greatness with the Cleveland Orchestra. Leinsdorf then went on to the Rochester Philharmonic, where he was Music Director for eight seasons, Then, after a brief period at the New York City Opera, Leinsdorf returned as a leading conductor of the Metropolitan Opera during Erich Leinsdorf died in a Zurich hospital, suffering from cancer on September 11, His musical erudition and generous personality gained respect, and during his most inspired performances, particularly in the opera house, he was often the equal of any of his contemporaries.
Before he was six, his family had moved to Vienna, and George Szell considered himself Viennese in origin. He showed early musical talent and was taken as a piano student by Richard Robert , who also taught Rudolf Serkin and Clara Haskill, and who had been a friend of Brahms. Georg Szell as he was then toured a number of European cities in as a piano prodigy.
By his mid-teens, Szell said later that he had determined to become a conductor. His first conducting opportunity came, it seems in a Bavarian spa, Bad Kissingen in either or according to different sources. He had been vacationing there, where members of the Vienna Symphony were also performing. The Vienna Symphony conductor was injured, and Szell substituted, with success. In , he conducted the Blüthner Orchestra, sponsored by the piano company, in Berlin. Also in , at age 18, Szell gained appointment as one of the conductors at the Berlin Royal Opera or "Königliche Kapelle", after named "Staatsoper Berlin".
There, Richard Strauss became something of a mentor to Szell, whom he saw had great talents, including in the performance of Strauss's own compositions. A famous story, often retold, from about this time was of the acoustic recording of Strauss's Don Juan , opus The recording with the Königliche Kapelle orchestra was to be rehearsed by Szell, so that Strauss could sleep later.
After the rehearsal, with Strauss still not arriving, the Gramophon engineers instructed Szell to continue to conduct the recording. After Szell had recorded two of the four 78 RPM sides of about 4 minutes each, Strauss who had arrived conducted the other two sides.
This recording, issued on Gramophon disks , , , and 74 shows Szell more fiery and rapid, and Strauss more lyrical. In later years, Szell said that he learned much about music and conducting from Strauss, although he also told amusing stories about Strauss's occasional lack of involvement with his conducting if other things were on Strauss's mind.
After the Berlin Royal Opera, in , Szell had the opportunity to become conductor of the Municipal Theatre, Strasbourg on the recommendation of Otto Klemperer, whom he succeeded. This experience was followed in about by conducting appointments of the Darmstadt Theater and of the Deutsche Oper - Düsseldorf.
The next season saw his US premier as a guest conductor of the St. Louis Symphony in , where he returned in Szell was considered a candidate for the St. Meanwhile, Szell continued his posts in Prague until , when he accepted two concurrent orchestra responsibilities: In the summers of and , Szell was a conductor at the Hollywood Bowl. Toscanini is said to have been impressed previously when he guest-conducted Szell's Residente Orchestra and found it much improved.
Szell was hired for the German repertoire at the Metropolitan Opera in the season, succeeding Erich Leinsdorf. George Szell continued at the Metropolitan Opera for four seasons As described above , Erich Leinsdorf was selected for Cleveland, but within a year, Leinsdorf entered the US Army, so making little impression in Cleveland.
In the season, when Leinsdorf was available to conduct, the Cleveland Orchestra season had already been programmed with guest conductors including George Szell. The Cleveland season became a horserace between Leinsdorf, Szell, and Vladimir Golschmann as to who would become permanent conductor. George Szell gradually emerged during that season as the favorite, and was appointed Music Director beginning with the season.
This began one of the legendary Conductor - Orchestra partnerships of the twentieth century. Fritz's father had wanted to be a musician, and starting as a carpenter, he later became a violin maker He brought up a family that was musical; Fritz's younger brother Adolf Busch was a violinist, and Hermann Busch was a well-known cellist.
Rudolf Serkin with father-in-law Adolf Busch and Hermann Busch Fritz Busch began piano study at age five, and also began studying the instruments of the orchestra early as part of his free tuition In , still only 19, he had his first conducting experience at the Deutsches Theater in Riga, Latvia Bruno Walter also had early conducting experience there. This was followed by two small regional orchestras in central Germany: Bad Pyrmont and Gotha.
In , he moved to the larger city of Aachen in the extreme west of Germany. Following his service in World War 1 he was wounded , an opportunity in for Busch to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic in music of Reger led Fritz Busch to be appointed conductor in Stuttgart Fritz Busch developed the Semper Opera into one of the leading opera houses of Europe.
He led the premieres of several Richard Strauss operas: Busch prepared the premiere of Strauss' Arabella in However, with the accession of the Nazi government, Busch, although not Jewish, was an early target because of his expressed political disagreement with 'National Socialism'.
Fritz Busch in the late s. In early , Fritz Busch accepted the direction of the Vienna Staatsoper. Busch had progressive heart disease during the previous five years, and on July 20, he collapsed during a performance of Don Giovanni Although ill, was able to complete the season with at Glyndebourne and Edinburgh.
He was to have taken the Glyndebourne company on a U. However, Fritz Busch died of a heart attack in a London hotel on September 14, So, Fritz Busch's death at age only 61 prevented him from taking up either the Vienna Staatsoper position or the Glyndebourne U. However, after Dresden, Busch never benefited from the public acclaim given to the very most popular conductors of his generation.
Yet, his surviving recordings demonstrate he was of that level. Fritz Reiner was born in Budapest, Hungary on December 19, Reiner in Budapest intended to study law, at the urging of his father, but in , he entered the Franz Liszt Academy, where he studied piano including with Bela Bartok and composition Leo Weiner.
In Dresden, Reiner conducted the first performance of Strauss's 'Die Frau ohne Schatten', immediately following its Vienna premieres in Reiner left Dresden in and then emigrated to the U. Fritz Reiner stayed in Cincinnati for eleven seasons, from By the season, only 25 of the original 92 musicians of the orchestra when Reiner arrived in were still with the Cincinnati Symphony.
Reiner became a U. Beginning in , Reiner was in charge of the conducting program at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where he continued until In the season, Reiner became Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony, which he reorganized and improved, while firing dozens of musicians each season. Reiner remained at Pittsburgh until the end of the season, where he made a number of famous recordings for Columbia records.
During this period, he also made stylish recordings of baroque music including the Bach Brandenburg Concerti with New York session musicians which demonstrated his mastery, uncommon for the period, of baroque playing.
In both Pittsburgh and Chicago, Reiner also recorded a number of works of Bela Bartok, and he was instrumental in convincing Serge Koussevitzky to commission in Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. In , Reiner was named Music Director of the Chicago Symphony, a post he maintained for nine seasons until the end of the season.
Reiner then became Musical Advisor in Chicago for the season. Even though Georg Solti famously claimed that prior to his arrival in Chicago in , the Chicago Symphony was a 'provincial orchestra', in fact, through good selection of musicians, demanding standards and in part through his ruthless elimination of any musician who displeased him, Reiner build one of the great orchestras of the world in Chicago.
Although many conductors have had the reputation of being a martinet, Fritz Reiner does seem to have had a sadistic streak in his conduct, and was famous for his hounding of the the musicians of weakest character in his orchestras, and playing 'mind games' to manipulate his players.
However, strong characters, such as Ray Still oboe or Donald Peck flute generally did not have problems with Reiner. In Chicago, Reiner also produced many great recordings, too numerous to mention individually. These recordings for Victor were also sonically at the leading edge of their time, and are still highly regarded both for inspired performances, and rich, transparent sound.
In spite of being, perhaps a mean and unlovable as a person, Fritz Reiner as a conductor was one of the greats of the Twentieth Century, with a command of musical idioms from Bach, through Mozart, to the Romantics and Strauss, up to the music by his teacher, Bartok. Perhaps the only surprising gap is that he seems not to have been one of the great interpreters of Beethoven.
Following a major heart attack in October 7, , Reiner did not conduct the Chicago Symphony until late March, After the heart attack, Reiner continued to conduct, although more cautiously, in Chicago, and preparing a new MET production of Die Götterdämmerung. Finally, after April, , Reiner withdrew to his long-time home, Rambleside in Connecticut.
Rafael initially studied violin with his father, and also piano with his uncle Frantisek Kubelik, with whom Rafael played the symphonic classics four hands. Rafael Kubelik entered the Prague Conservatory in , where he studied violin, piano, composition, and conducting, where he graduated with his diploma in In and , Rafael Kubelik toured with his father, first in Europe and in in the US and Canada, Jan playing the violin, and Rafael accompanying on piano, or conducting Kubelik was Director of the Brno Opera House from , and was chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic In , with the rise of a Communist authoritarian regime, Kubelik left Czechoslovakia, vowing not to return until the end of authoritarian rule.
Kubelik settled first in England, where he conducted, including at Glyndebourne. Kubelik was Music Director of the Chicago Symphony for three seasons His Music Directorship in Chicago started badly when he attempted to replace replacing 22 of musicians during the first season, which met vigorous opposition. Also, during his Chicago term, Chicago Tribune music critic Claudia Cassidy who was an unrelenting critic of Kubelik , among other reasons it is said because of too heavy a diet of contemporary music.
Kubelik then returned to the UK, where he conducted both symphony and opera. Although Kubelik remained, he did not renew his contract in Kubelik remained in Munich producing also numerous recordings. However, he suffered regular criticism as spenting too much time in Europe, and of being a weak administrator.
Tensions at the MET continued, and in February , five months after his debut, he resigned. James Levine subsequently succeeded Kubelik In later years, Kubelik's health deteriorated, due to heart disease and arthritis, which forced his retirement in However, Rafael Kubelik did conduct on further occassions: He also returned to Chicago on several occasions, the last being on October 18, , the commemorative Centennial concert of the CSO, recreating the first Theodore Thomas concert of October 16, Kubelik conducted the Dvorak Hussika Overture at that Centennial celebration.
Rafael Kubelik died near Lucerne, Switzerland on August 11, Gergiev was raised in North Ossetia in the Caucasus region. After study of piano as a youth, he entered the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in Leningrad After graduation from the Conservatory, Gergiev was appointed in assistant conductor to Yuri Temirkanov at the the Kirov Opera 91 which reverted to its historic name of the Mariinsky Theater in Gergiev became the Director of the Kirov Opera in , and guided it through its transition back to its roots as the Mariinsky Theater Beginning in , Gergiev was a regular guest conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and then during , Gergiev became Chief or Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Since about , Gergiev has guest-conducted most of the leading orchestras of the world.
Gergiev was named Principal Guest Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera for the season, and remained for 11 seasons until the end of His father was a violinist who lead a dance band, and his mother had studied with Martha Graham. Levine began piano study at age 4 51 , and was something of a prodigy. Levin apparently initially said 'the ten-year-old has not been born that I would teach'. James Levine graduated from Juilliard in , just before his twenty-first birthday.
Levine thought that Jean Morel was perhaps not one of the great conductors, but a very good teacher of preparation and conducting technique In season, Levine studied with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, where he became assistant conductor to Szell From , for twenty-three seasons, James Levine was Music Director of the Ravinia Festival each summer, being succeeded in turn by Christoph Eschenbach.
Levine made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the summer of , with an acclaimed performance of Tosca, followed by return engagements. Levine was further offered the Music Director position of the Metropolitan Opera by Schuyler Chapin, then General Manager, but with the stipulation that Chapin would reserve artistic decisions, as Sir Rudolf Bing had done James Levine is said to have considered such an arrangement unworkable.
The situation evolved, including the departure of Chapin. In this position, it can be said that Levine has more total authority at the Metropolitan Opera than even Arturo Toscanini did with Gatti-Casazza from Levine gradually added co-Principals in each of the orchestra sections, so as to reduce the heavy weekly work load of the Principal musicians. This, and the improvement of salaries and conditions allowed the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra to hire the best musicians, and to improve overall performance quality.
With the virtuoso level of his orchestra, Levine also began a regular series of successful concert programs by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. This was not the first time the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra had given purely orchestral concerts, but it was judged by critics to have achieved a new level of organization and quality in this orchestral series. James Levine first conducted the Boston Symphony in Since his appointment in Boston, Levine has suffer health problems, including surgery in and Most serious was lengthy spinal surgery in April, However, James Levine made a triumphant return to open the Boston Symphony season on October 2, Unfortunately, it was not to last, and the spinal problems continued, forcing James Levine to resign as Music Director of the Boston Symphony in March, Life of the Musician of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
The prestige and caliber of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra has always been high, yet has increased further since about , when James Levine began to progressively reduce individual musician workload and adding second or alternate musicians for the key orchestral chairs. David Berkowitz in his enjoyable memoire Behind the Gold Curtain 2 give in intimate look at the life of the Metropolitan Orchestra musician when he began as a viola player in , until his retirement fifty years later.
In , he states, the orchestra musicians were contracted for 8 performances per week, 7 evening operas and one Saturday matinee 3. By , the musicians played 7 performances per week 11 , compared with the typical American orchestra schedule of 3 performances per week, and of concerts typically shorter than the length of most operas. In , the musicians of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra sought to negotiate a new contract providing them with less performances, and procedures to reduce the ability of the Metropolitan Opera management Rudolf Bing and the conductors to fire or demote orchestra musicians.
The orchestra failed to achieve its objectives, which set up the confrontation in prior to the opening of the new Metropolitan Opera house in Lincoln Center. They believed, correctly, that this lack of a contract would allow the musicians to bargain powerfully for the concessions they sought, but had failed to win in The principal issue was that of reducing the weekly performance load.
They gained a reduction to 6. Also, they gained, for the first time, group medical insurance. As he gained administrative authority, James Levine, starting in progressively reduced the workload and consequently was able to attract the number of quality of musicians necessary to add 'second' or 'alternate' musicians for the first chairs of each of the instrumental sections, including the strings. For many years, and at least since World War 1, the woodwinds and brass had employed alternates, since the demands of these instruments would not permit them to play night after night without respite, without the risk of a breakdown.
As the number of performances per week decreased, the season however, gradually increased from 12 weeks in the s 16 weeks 13 and to 26 weeks by This would also increase in those years with extended national tours, such as and , when ten addition weeks of touring was added 5.
By the s, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra's season was for the full year. For the first time, the MET Orchestra musicians had year-around employment with a workload similar to their Symphony Orchestra colleagues, and with medical insurance. The improvements in playing standards became gradually apparent under Levine. This was also the case in many of the U.
Rehearsals were conducted in German, and American musicians were a rarity - only three of the Philharmonic's hundred players! Joseph Horowitz in his book Classical music in America writes: A comparison of MET rosters for and as found in the Metropolitan Opera Archives shows that the earlier orchestra was by far more German than Italian.
In , however, no fewer than fifty-three of eighty-five musicians on the permanent roster had incontestably Italian names So, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, much like most other leading U. Similarly, following World War 2, and until today, these orchestras have included more and more American-trained musicians, coming out of the dozens of leading U. The fact of two massive World Wars devastated Europe in the first half of the Twentieth Century, and the rapid growth of U. These changes have continued to evolve until today, most U.
Today, except for the concertmaster sometimes called the 'Leader' in Europe , the usual title for the first or leading instrument of an orchestral section is 'Principal', as in 'Principal Flute'. However, in earlier years and in some orchestra sections, the first chair musician may have been referred to as 'Solo', or 'First'.
In the profiles below, for consistency and clarity, I usually use the title 'Principal', even if the title was not yet used at that time. Given the heavy performance load of an opera orchestra such as the Metropolitan, the orchestra has usually had 'assistant' or 'associate' Concertmasters to share the extensive performance workload.
As a result of James Levine's policies regarding the Orchestra, starting in , the musician's workload was reduced to 4 days a week, raising standards and also requiring the hiring of many added musicians. This also resulted in the new position of an additional Concertmaster. Guy Lumia was the first of these added Concertmasters in , alternating with Raymond Gniewek who was Concertmaster for 43 years, Journeys of a Concertmaster biography of her father.
In America's Concertmasters , her research demonstrates the difficulties of tracing all the musicians - even the concertmasters - of the Metropolitan Opera. She states page " It is telling that a company with an excellent archive of material about its singers and conductors lacks adequate records of its earlier orchestra members.
Anne Mischakoff Heiles' research, however, is able to document most of the history of the first chair of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, which is the source of much of the information displayed below. Ciofi listed in pay records records for the Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in its first season according to Anne Mischakoff Heiles 7 excellent research, but with no first name. This is an example of the lack of detailed records regarding the Metropolitan orchestra members, as contrasted with the more detailed records as to the opera singers.
The name of Ciofi would suggest a native Italian from the Neapolitan or Sicilian area, where it is said the surname originated. However, no specific information about this violinist is yet known to me. His family lost all during the Civil War, the father, Hamman Franko being an ardent Confederate supporter. The original family name for Hamman Franco, a jeweler, was Hollander, a leading German Jewish family which also produced a number of musicians. Nahan's sister, Jeanne, was a pianist.
The Franko family returned to New York in He of course did not play at the MET when it was closed - Also, he did not play there in the - season after a disagreement with the conductor of the German repertoire Alfred Hertz Hertz was later the conductor of the San Francisco Symphony.
As was the practice of that era when musicians sought constant work, Nahan Franko also seems to have at least sometimes acted as Concertmaster of the New York Symphony during this MET period.
Franko conducted more than performances of the Metropolitan Opera in the first decade of the s, including the series of Sunday evening orchestral concerts. During the s and s, Nahan Franko also lead the 'Franko Orchestra' at concerts and social occasions. Carlos Hasselbrink grew up in Cuba, where he studied violin before going to France to study under the Belgian-born violinist, teacher and composer Hubert Leonard Hasselbrink emigrated to the U. Hasselbrink was active as a concert musician in New York in Carlos Hasselbrink in Newspaper accounts at the time said he " It was joy and not sorrow that overcame him For one hour before, he had received a telegram from Nahan Franko, conductor of the Metropolitan Opera House Orchestra, welcoming him home from his studies in Germany and ordering him to report for rehearsal as first violin of the famous orchestra Max Bendix was born in March 28, in Detroit, Michigan.
Max Bendix had a long relationship with Theodore Thomas, joining the Thomas orchestra at the Cincinnati May Festival in , when Bendix was only 12 6. In , he became Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Orchestra under the conductor Maratsek a musician whom I have not been able to identify 6. In , still only 19, Bendix was a first violin in Anton Seidl's first season as conductor at the Metropolitan Opera.
This was at least his second professional collaboration with Theodore Thomas. Max Bendix spent the year studying in Europe, and in again was Concertmaster of the Thomas orchestra at the Cincinnati May Festive. In , Chicago organized the World's Columbian Exposition, celebrating the th anniversary of the discovery of America.
According to the Thomas biography written by Charles Edward Russell, 7 , Theodore Thomas did not want to become Music Director of the Exposition, given his bad experiences in Philadelphia in , but reluctantly accepted.
The Thomas misgivings proved well-founded, and after months of internecine politics at the Exposition, Thomas finally resigned in August, 7. It seems that the Chicago Orchestra did continue to perform at the Exposition after Theodore Thomas's resignation, but now under the leadership of Max Bendix. It would seem that Theodore Thomas resented this.
In any case, Max Bendix had the reputation of being a difficult and sensitive artist, and there were a series of confrontations between the two men during Bendix's tenure with the Chicago Orchestra, in spite of Thomas's efforts to mollify Max Bendix. Finally, Max Bendix did not return to the Chicago orchestra in the season.
The New York Times on September 18, , in an article apparently based on the Bendix view, reported " Arthur Mees of New York will be assistant conductor in his place, and will be billed as such - an honor Mr. Thomas never accorded to Bendix. Bendix was also active in chamber music, forming in the Bendix String Quartet: The turbulent career of Bendix also included extensive conducting.
He conducted the St. Louis World's Fair orchestra in Max Bendix also conducted at the Metropolitan Opera starting in In , in yet another shift, Bendix went to the rival Manhattan Opera Company as Concertmaster and assistant conductor, under the Music Director Cleofonte Campanini , where he conducted the Sunday night orchestral concerts. Max Bendix also conducted an orchestra briefly in San Francisco.
They invited Nikolai Sokoloff to be their conductor. This group played during the summer of , but meanwhile, the San Francisco Orchestra directors raised money and hired new musicians to replace the defectors. The People's Philharmonic Orchestra tried to continue with Max Bendix as their conductor, presenting popular concerts in San Francisco, but eventually failed Max Bendix died in Chicago December 6, , age 79 after an eventful career, having played a pioneering role in the development and expansion of US orchestras.
Boegner emigrated to the U. Eugene Boegner played in the first violin section of the Theodore Thomas Chicago Orchestra the Chicago Symphony for six seasons, - Kuehn, Boegner, and Steindel were at that time all colleagues in the Chicago Orchestra. Eugene Boegner then joined the first violins of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, under the leadership of Nahan Franko in the season.
Boegner remained as a first violin until the season, when he was appointed Concertmaster. Eugene Boegner continued in the Concertmaster chair for four seasons until the end of the season. Continuing with his chamber music career, shortly after joining the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Boegner became a member of the Morgan Quartet, consisting of Geraldine Morgan, first, Eugene Boegner, second, Fritz Schaefer, viola, and Paul Morgan, cello.
Geraldine Morgan studied in Europe with several of the same teachers as Maud Powell , including Joseph Joachim This quartet continued at least until the season. Eugene Boegner became a U. He returned to Germany in the summer of , with no subsequent record of his musical activity in the U. So, he may have remained in Germany during World War 1 and thereafter. Toscanini, who was at the Metropolitan Opera from invited Gino Nastrucci to come to the Metropolitan Orchestra in Nastrucci was a long-time friend of Toscanini, and Sacchi says that Nastrucci was 'always cheerful, always joking' Gino Nastrucci came to the U.
Nastrucci served as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for eight seasons. In about , Gino Nastrucci seems to have returned to Italy, and performed in Europe. From , Nastrucci seems to have served as a musician on Italian cruise ships on a series of crossings of the Atlantic. In Nastrucci is listed as conducting in Wiesbaden, Germany. From into the early s Nastrucci made a number of operatic recordings with La Scala forces.
Leopold Kramer circa Leopold Kramer was born in in Prague, then part of Austria. He studied at the Prague Conservatory, and after graduating in about , became Concertmaster of the Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne, Germany. Kramer was then Concertmaster of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Leopold Kramer was also, perhaps just before coming to Chicago, the Concertmaster of the St. Leopold Kramer then impulsively quit the Orchestra.
Kramer quickly regretted his action and tried to retract his resignation, but it was too late. Kramer then moved to the Chicago Grand Opera.
As was the practice of European musicians in that era, Kramer returned to Europe during the summer of Apparently, he was blocked from returning to New York, because of the outbreak of World War 1. Leopold Kramer was later Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for one season, In the summer of , Kramer returned to Prague to teach, where he lived at least until Henrotte was Concertmaster of the Chicago Opera in - Henrotte was Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera , except for the season, when Eugene Dubois replaced him.
During this season, Henrotte was Concertmaster of the Minneapolis Symphony, but was unhappy there, and returned to the Metropolitan Opera beginning with the - season. He died in St. Augustine, Florida on January 1, He studied violin at the Brussels Conservatory. He emigrated to the U.
He became Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera in He also lead summer concerts at New York Lewisohn Stadium concerts. In the s, Dubois was Concertmaster of the Columbia Broadcasting house orchestra. Dubois returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Concertmaster during World War 2, - , when the younger musicians were at war.
Dubois taught at the University of Miami beginning in the s. Eugene Dubois died in Miami March 22, , age In Warsaw, Frenkel studied violin with his uncle Maurice Frenkel. While in Dresden, Frenkel was particularly active in contemporary music, giving premieres of works by Suk the Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra and Hindemith. Frenkel became a US citizen in Frenkel was particularly known for his violin arrangement of the 'Mack the Knife' and other music from Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera.
Frenkel was also particularly at ease with modern and contemporary music. Stefan Frenkel died in New York on March 1, Petersburg, Russia on November 23, He then enrolled in the St. Petersburg conservatory to study with Sergei Korguyev , who was the teacher of Mischa Mischakoff. But when Rosenker learned that Leopold Auer would accept him, he decided to transfer.
Anne Mischakoff Heiles in her wonderful book America's Concertmasters. Korguyev was enraged and told Rosenker, 'You're not leaving for Auer; I'm throwing your out! Rosenker studied with Auer in Vienna for three years, and also played in the Vienna Volksoper.
In , Rosenker toured Asia, and too this opportunity to leave the Soviet Union. He awaited the arrival of his daughter, and then Rosenker came to the U. During the late s and into the s, Michael Rosenker continued as violinist in theater orchestras, and the NBC radio staff orchestra, which were desirable positions, offering year-around employment not the case with even the major symphony orchestras, then. In , Rosenker also performed the U.
Reiner called Rosenker 'the Rock of Gibraltar' 77 and evidently appreciated him. Rosenker got along with Fritz Reiner, whom he also admired, but was quickly hired away by the New York Philharmonic. Michael Rosenker became Concertmaster again, with the Baltimore Symphony for two seasons, and then in Tokyo with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony during the season. In the late s, Rosenker moved to California, where he was Concertmaster with the Monterey Symphony However, Rosenker had a falling out with with the Monterey conductor now long forgotten Jan De Jong, which resulted in both leaving the orchestra.
Michael Rosenker died in Carmel, California, on December 16, at age Kolberg was later a student of Bronislaw Huberman He then was Concertmaster of Paris and Copenhagen orchestras. In about , Hugo Kolberg was appointed Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, alternating as Concertmaster with the great Szymon Goldberg In , after being Concertmaster for five seasons, Szymon Goldberg resigned from the Berlin Philharmonic in part due to Nazi pressure, and ironically Hugo Kolberg, not Jewish but married to a Jewish wife, was appointed sole Concertmaster.
With the ascension of the Nazi government, political control became more and more dominant in the policies of the Berlin Philharmonic. Kolberg then came to the U. Fritz Reiner, always demanding was said to have had a particular appreciation for the musicianship of Kohlberg.
The next year, Kohlberg was Concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra for one season , the last full Cleveland season Artur Rodzinski, who departed for New York in December, Kohlberg reportedly left Cleveland following a salary dispute It is said that his recommendation came from Fritz Reiner.
Hugo Kolberg then returned to the Pittsburgh Symphony as Concertmaster under Reiner for three seasons, After 35 years as a concertmaster of leading orchestras in Europe and the U. In the s, Kohlberg was head of the violin department at the Chicago Musical College His teaching continued until 18 months prior to his death, when Kolberg was teaching at Juniata College in central Pennsylvania, and making solo appearances with local orchestras Felix Eyle was born in Lvov, Poland now in the Ukraine in Eyle was a violinist with the Vienna Opera, and its subset, the Vienna Philharmonic.
In , Eyle emigrated to the United States in Felix Eyle was first violinist of the Buxbaum Quartet. During this period, Eyle also taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music Eyle was the Metropolitan orchestra manager from until he retired in For more than a decade, and into his mid-eighties, Felix Eyle taught violin at Colgate University, in Hamilton, New York - , and died from a heart attack in Hamilton on July 5, When in Raymond Gniewek was selected as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, he was at age 25, the youngest Orchestra musician.
Also, often the press said Gniewek 'the first American-born concertmaster', or perhaps the second, 75 years after Nahan Franko. Gniewek was quickly both popular and respected by the public and his colleagues. It is said that during his career with the Metropolitan Opera, Gniewek led some different opera scores. Gniewek married Metropolitan Opera star soprano Judith Blegen - in The single luckiest thing that happened to me since I have been at the Met is that Ray Gniewek was the concertmaster.
It's my job to make technical translations of the desired sound. And you have to show, not tell, because the same words can mean different things to different people. After 43 seasons leading the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Raymond Gniewek made a lasting impact on the qualities of the orchestra.
Working closely with James Levine, and particularly during the period from about , a very fine opera orchestra was transformed into a group equal to the world's leading symphony orchestras. Concertmaster Position James Levine, during the s introduced policies that would result in a reduction of the massive workload of the string sections of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. One result of this was the appointment of Guy Lumia in the season as Concertmaster, which would allow Lumia and Raymond Gniewek to alternate.
It is said that Gniewek would play at most of the Operas directed by James Levine. Lumia began studying violin at age seven. In , Guy Lumia began studies at the Eastman School of Music, with Andre de Ribaupierre and Joseph Knitzer, where he graduated with honors, gaining both his bachelors and masters degrees, along with Performer's Certificate and Artist's Diploma.
In the s, Guy Lumia was a member of the first violin section of the Rochester Philharmonic, while at Eastman. From , Lumia was also active with the Greenwich Piano Quartet. Other chamber music activity in the s was the Long Island Chamber Ensemble.
Lumia later studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He studied further with Yehudi Menuhin in London. In the early s, Lumia toured Europe as a soloist. In the season, Lumia was selected as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where he alternated with Raymond Gniewek. Lumia continued with the MET Orchestra for four seasons.
Then, tragically, Guy Lumia died in New York City on May 18, , age only 51 as a result of complications of type 1 diabetes. Her next studies were at the Sofia Conservatory with degrees at both the university Baccalaureate and Masters levels. Elmira Darvarova was a prize winner at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In Jascha Heifetz granted Darvarova a scholarship to study with him in the U. Darvarova did gain a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School in London, where she earned a Performer's Certificate.
Darvarova then studied violin at Indiana University with the famous teacher and former Concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, Josef Gingold, where she earned an Artist Diploma. Elmira Darvarova was for thirteen seasons the Concertmaster of the Grant Park Symphony, the summer festival orchestra in Chicago. She resigned this position in June, Elmira Darvarova is married to Howard Wall , fourth horn of the New York Philharmonic March present, and who also was a featured player in the great horn section of the Philadelphia Orchestra for nineteen seasons Stoianov and his family subsequently relocated to Belgium.
From age 9, he studied at the Antwerp Conservatory, and later in Berlin. He was Concertmaster of the Flanders Royal Philharmonic. Stoianov also conducted the London Philharmonic for some concerts and recordings. In , Konstantin Stoianov became the first violin of the London-based Gabrieli String Quartet many will recall the first violin when the Gabrieli started: Nick Eanet was admitted to the Juilliard pre-college program in at age 12 where he studied first with Dorothy DeLay.
Then in the Juilliard college program, he studed with Robert Mann, at that time the first violin with the Juilliard String Quartet founded in with Mann as first violin. Throughout his career, Eanet has been active in chamber music. Following graduation from Juilliard in , Nick Eanet was for six years first violin of the Mendelssohn String Quartet. During the Eanet's first season as Concertmaster, Raymond Gniewek remained for one additional season to assure a smooth transition.
Then, in , Joel Smirnoff, first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet for the previous 12 years departed to become President of the Cleveland Institute of Music. After playing with his quartet colleagues, during the Summer of , Nick Eanet agreed to became the latest first violin of the Juilliard String Quartet, the chair previously held by his teacher Robert Mann.
Joel Smirnoff had succeeded founding violinist Robert Mann in , so Nick Eanet was the third lead violin of the Juilliard Quartet since its creation in However, the good news from this was that in the season, Nick Eanet was able to return to the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera as Concertmaster, to the welcome of his orchestra colleagues and his many MET fans.
His parents came from Taiwan and met as graduate students at Stanford University His parents encouraged him to study violin from an early age.
David Chan studied at Harvard, receiving his Bachelor's degree. At Juilliard, Chan also studied violin with Hyo Kang Chan was bronze medalist in the Indianapolis International Violin Competition Chen joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the season, initially as alternate Concertmaster. Then, in the season, Chen advanced to the Concertmaster chair. Chan has been active in teaching, including at his alma mater, Juilliard since Josef Pasternack was born in Czestochowa in the south of Poland on July 1, probably not or given in other sources.
His was a musical family, with his grandfather and his father Sigmund Pasternack, with whom Josef first studied both being bandmasters. Pasternack studied violin as a youth.