of the Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, New York
The Metropolitan Opera and its Orchestra
The Metropolitan Opera was incorporated in 1880 by wealthy sponsors.
The MET's inaugural season began on October 23, 1883 at its opera house
at 39th and Broadway with a performance of Gounod's Faust. The Metropolitan
Opera history since has been studded with so many famous names and historic
performances they surpass any short listing. This is true also of its
orchestra, although as we will see, the history of orchestra and musicians of
the Metropolitan Opera is less well documented.
From the MET's initial performances in 1883, until 1891, the musicians who formed
the Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera were, for the most part, from the New
York Symphony, particularly musicians other than the Principals.
This would change beginning in the 1893-1894 season.
In looking at the chronology of the Metropolitan, there are two
gaps in its performing chronology, which of course also affect the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra. First is the season 1892 - 1893, when the Metropolitan did
not perform due to a disastrous fire of August 27, 1892 that destroyed most
of its building, and many instruments and association records.
The Metropolitan Opera was also closed during the 1897-1898 season. During
that season, the Opera house was leased to Maurice Grau and hosted only visiting
opera groups. Grau took over full directorship in 1898, after which the
Maurice Grau in 1902
With the re-opening of the Metropolitan Opera in 1893, the 'Golden Age' arrived
under the direction of Maurice Grau, who took over management in October, 1891
1 until 1903. Grau died in Paris on March 14, 1907, of heart
disease 18. Grau was followed by two other greats: Heinrich
Conried 1903 - 1908 and the superbly organized and innovative Giulio
Gatti-Casazza for 25 years from 1908 - 1935. It was said of Gatti-Casazza
that he spoke no English - perhaps an exaggeration, and perhaps also a convenient
role for him. One of the most famous MET General Managers was Rudolf Bing
(later in 1971, Sir Rudolf) who reined (not an exaggeration) from 1950 to
1972. During this period, Bing was frequently accused of avoiding
giving authority to any eminent conductor, and fearing the competition of a
Music Director. Nevertheless, many of the leading conducting names
worked at the MET during Bing's regime, including George Szell, Fritz Reiner,
Dimitri Mitropoulos, and even Herbert von Karajan.
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Anton Seidl - principal conductor of the German repertory
Anton Seidl (1850-1898) was a Hungarian operatic conductor, born in Budapest
May 7, 1850. Seidl studied at the Leipzig Conservatory from October 1870-1872.
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 1876. An important opportunity
for Seidl resulted from Wagner's recommendation of Seidl as conductor of the Leipzig
Stadt-Theater. Seidl conducted in Leipzig from 1878-1882, to be succeeded by
his Hungarian contemporary, the young Artur Nikisch (1855-1922). Then, in 1882, Seidl
toured with the Angelo Neumann Nibelungen Ring Company. The conducting
reputation of Seidl was further consolidated during this tour. In 1885, Seidl
was appointed as successor to Leopold Damrosch, who had died (1832-1885) as conductor of the
German Repertoire at the Metropolitan Opera. Also, during the Summers, beginning in 1886,
Seidl conducted at the Bayreuth Festival. From 1891-1898, 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. In 1897, Anton Seidl conducted in London at Covent Garden.
Also in 1897, 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. However, Anton Seidl died suddenly in New York City
on March 28, 1898, not yet age 48, seemingly of food poisoning. 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 was born in Breslau, Prussia, some 100 km east of
Dresden (now Wroclaw, Poland) on January 13, 1862, son of
the conductor Leopold Damrosch (1832-1885). Walter Damrosch, as
well as studying under his father, attended the Dresden Conservatory,
where he studied with Wilhelm Albert Rischbieter (1834-1910) and Felix
Draeseke (1835-1913). The Damrosch
family emigrated to the U.S. in 1871, a year after Leopold Damrosch
had visited the U.S. and found it welcoming. Walter began conducting
both oratorio society and concerts under his father, Leopold who became
conductor of the German repertoire at the Metropolitan Opera in 1884.
At that time, Walter Damrosch was an assistant conductor, and advanced to the
German repertoire under Seidl when Leopold Damrosch died in 1885.
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.
Leopold Damrosch had founded the New York Symphony Society (in 1903, renamed the New
Symphony) in 1878, which Walter Damrosch took over in 1885 upon his father's
death. 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 1891. This was a Damrosch strength
of which the New York Times said '...he has the shrewdness in business matters denied
most musicians...' 97. Andrew Carnegie also supported the
1920 tour of the New York Symphony in Europe, the first U.S. orchestra to make such
a tour. During the 1920s, Damrosch progressively conducted symphony concerts less
and less, and beginning 1927, became Music Director for NBC radio. At NBC, Damrosch
lead a successful classical music appreciation program, directed at youths, and which
continued until 1942. Damrosch was also a composer, including of at least
four operas, including 'The Scarlet Letter' premiered in 1895
96. These works are
generally forgotten today. Walter Damrosch died in
New York City December 22, 1950 of a heart attack 95.
Frank Van der Stucken was born in Fredericksburg, Texas on October
15, 1858. In 1866, Van de Stucken went to Antwerp with his
parents. Van der Stucken's father, Frank (1830 - circa 1908),
was born and raised in Antwerp, and came to Texas. After
serving as a Captain in the Confederate Army, Frank Van der Stucken,
Sr. found himself on the wrong side of the after-war society.
He therefore took the family back to Antwerp. There, Frank Van
der Stucken Jr. studied violin with Émile Wambach (1854-1924) from
1866 to 1876 and composition and theory with the Belgian composer
Peter Benoit (1834-1901). Frank Van der Stucken then went to
Leipzig where he studied with Carl Reinecke (1824-1910) during
1876 - 1878 as well as with Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) and Hermann
Langer (1819–1889) 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
1881-1882. Van den Stucken was introduced to Franz Liszt
at Weimar by his teacher Edvard Grieg in 1883. From 1879 to
1881 Van der Stucken traveled throughout Europe and met and
worked with Giuseppe Verdi, Emmanuel Chabrier, and Jules
Massenet. In about 1883, 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 1884-1895. According to Hubbard
was the Concertmaster
of the Arion Society orchestra (among other orchestral and
chamber music jobs) under Van der Stucken in the 1885-1886
season. 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 1895-1907. From
about 1901 to about 1907, 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 1906-1912 and 1923-1927 (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 1908. Van der
Stucken again conducted the Cincinnati May Festival in 1923, and
was its Music Director in 1925 and 1927. Van
der Stucken's last trip to the United States was in was in
October 1928 for celebrations of his 70th birthday with friends
and admirers in New York and Cincinnati. Frank Van der Stucken
died in Hamburg, Germany on August 16, 1929.
1902-1915 Alfred Hertz
- principal conductor of the German repertory
Alfred Hertz was born in Frankfurt, Germany on July 15, 1872. In the
late 1880s, Hertz entered the newly formed Raff Konservatorium in Frankfurt,
studying piano and composition under Anton Urspruch (1850-1907). In
1892, 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, 1892-1895, before going to the Stadttheater
of Barmen-Elberfeld (renamed Wuppertal after 1930), near Stuttgart during
1895-1899. Hertz then went to the much larger city of Breslau, 100 km
east of Dresden (Breslau now being in Poland, with the name of
Wroclaw). From 1899-1902, Hertz conducted at the Stadttheater
Breslau (where Frank Van der Stucken had also conducted during the 1881-1882
season). In 1902, 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. On December 24, 1903, Alfred Hertz at the MET was the first to
conduct Parsifal outside of Wagner's Bayreuth, causing a controversy.
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, 1913 recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic,
beautifully restored by Mark Obert-Thorn on Naxos Historical 8.110049 and
8.110050. During his tenure at the Metropolitan Opera, Hertz
toured the U.S. regularly, including in San Francisco during the great
earthquake of 1906. Hertz left the Metropolitan opera at the end of the
1912-1913 season, and went to Los Angeles that summer of 1913 to conduct
at the Panama Exposition. Hertz then returned to Germany for the
1913-1914 season, where he conducted, among others, the Berlin Philharmonic
which also led to the famous Parsifal recording. In 1915, Hertz
came to San Francisco to direct a festival of Beethoven's music, when
he was offered direction of the San Francisco Symphony. So, in the
1915-1916 season, Alfred Hertz became Music Director of the San Francisco
Symphony, where he remained for 15 seasons. In 1917, when the U.S. entered
World War 1, Hertz became a U.S. citizen. When Victor opened its facilities
in Oakland, California, across the San Francisco Bay, Hertz led the San Francisco
Symphony in a series of recordings 1925-1930. Many of these recordings
in excellent restorations by Mark Obert-Thorn are available from Andrew Rose's
superb Pristine Classical (www.pristineclassical.com). After his farewell
San Francisco Symphony concert on April 30, 1930, Hertz remained in
California, living in Berkeley, where he endowed Hertz Hall at the
University of California, Berkeley. Hertz also conducted for radio
in the 1930s for the Standard Symphony Hour on NBC.
Alfred Hertz died in San Francisco on April 17, 1942.
Arturo Toscanini was born on March 25, 1867 in Parma, Italy in
the Emilia-Romagna, famous for its musical traditions.
In 1897, Toscanini entered the Parma Conservatory,
where he studied cello and solfège 71.
He graduated in 1885 with distinction. The next year, in 1886,
Toscanini was traveling with a contract orchestra in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil. In a famous incident, the local conductor, Leopoldo
Miguez (1850-1902) had been rejected by the singers, and after
several unsuccessful substitutes, Toscanini, the chorus master
took over the performance of Aida on June 30, 1886 71. 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 1887. As Toscanini's
conducting reputation grew, he was granted the world premieres of
the Leoncavallo - Pagliacci (1892) and Puccini - La Bohème (1896).
In 1898, Toscanini became Director of the Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
Toscanini devoted seven seasons to La Scala, 1898-1903 and 1906-1908.
During Toscanini's tenure at La Scala, he conducted first Italian performances
of Wagner - Siegfried, Tchaikovsky - Eugene Onegin, Strauss - Salome and
Debussy - Pelléas et Mélisande. Toscanini then accepted a similar post
with the Metropolitan Opera in the 1908-1909 season. In New York,
Toscanini was an instant favorite, and remained until the end of the
1914-1915 season. During Toscanini's tenure at the Metropolitan
Opera, he gave the world premiere of Puccini - La Fanciulla del
West, and U.S. premieres of Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov, and revivals of
historic works by Weber and Gluck. In 1915,
Toscanini returned to support Italy during World War 1.
Following the war, in 1920-1921, Toscanini toured the U.S. with the La Scala
Orchestra, making his first recordings with the Victor Talking Machine
Company in December, 1920 and March 1921 69. In
December 1921, after being closed 1918-1920, Toscanini reopened La Scala
with a famous performance of 'Falstaff'. After leaving La Scala,
Toscanini accepted to become co-conductor (with Willem Mengelberg)
of the of New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, 1926-1930. Then, in
1930, following the merger of the Philharmonic Society of New York with
the New York Symphony Society Toscanini became its sole conductor.
Political developments also had an important effect on Toscanini's
career. In the early 1920s, 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, 1931 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
1930 and 1931 festivals. He also took the New York Philharmonic on a
European tour in 1930, including
at Bayreuth. 1934-1937, Toscanini conducted at the Salzburg Festival, but
withdrew in 1938 after the German anschluss of Austria. In 1936, Toscanini
accepted the Bronislaw Huberman (1882-1947) invitation to conduct the inaugural
concert of the Palestine Symphony 72.
In 1937, on David Sarnoff's initiative the new NBC Symphony Orchestra was
formed for Toscanini who conducted the first broadcast concert on December 25,
1937. Toscanini continued to conduct the NBC Symphony until his famous
last concert on April 4, 1954. 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. Mortimer H.
Frank in his fascinating book Arturo Toscanini - The NBC Years
writes that this speeding up was '...the product of his rethinking of interpretive
problems...' 73. 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 1936 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.pristineclassical.com
Artur Bodanzky - principal conductor of the German repertory
Artur Bodanzky was born in Vienna, Austria on December 16, 1877 of Hungarian
parents Carl Bodanzky and Hanna Feuchtwang, neither of whom were particularly
musical. In the 1890s in Vienna, Bodanzky studied violin and composition
with the young Alexander Zemlinsky (1871-1942, later known for his conducting
and compositions). Bodanzky graduated from the Vienna Conservatory in
1896 36. Beginning in the 1896-1897 season, Bodanzky
played in the first violin section of the Vienna Opera 36.
In about 1901, Bodanzky then became a conducting assistant
to Gustav Mahler at the Vienna Opera. Bodanzky then went to the
Komische Oper of Budweis in what was then referred to as Bohemia (now
Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic) in about 1904. Bodanzky conducted
opera and light opera in Paris, Russia, and Germany.
In the 1906-1909 seasons, Artur Bodanzky was conductor at the
Neues Deutsches Landestheater in Prague, where Otto Klemperer
also conducted from 1907-1910. After Prague, Bodanzky went to the
Mannheim Stadttheater as principal conductor and later Music Director
1909-1913. Bodanzky came
to the U.S. in October, 1915 to assume his duties
as principal conductor of the German repertory at the MET. 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 1916 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 1916-1931. Bodanzky became
a U.S. citizen in 1921. At the end of the 1927-1928 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 1929-1930 season,
where he remained until his death in 1939. 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,
1939, and died one month later on November 23, 1939
at the beginning of his twenty-fourth season at the Metropolitan Opera.
Tullio Serafin was born in Rottanova di Cavarzere, Italy, near Venice on September 1, 1878.
Serafin was a child prodigy on the violin, and is said to have played for
Verdi. Serafin studied violin at the Milan Conservatory. He played in the La Scala
orchestra under Toscanini, beginning in about 1898. Serafin made
his conducting debut at Ferrara, Italy in 1898. In the early
1900s, Serafin also began conducting at La Scala. His
abilities were such that when Toscanini departed for the Metropolitan
Opera in 1908, Serafin increased his conducting, and was named Music
Director, beginning in the 1909-1910 season. Serafin introduced
new works, such as conducting the Italian premiere of Strauss's
Der Rosenkavalier 41. Serafin
continued in this position until 1918 except
when La Scala was closed 1914-1917 because of World War 1. La Scala was then
again closed 1918-1920. In 1924, Serafin joined the conducting staff at the MET
in the Italian repertoire for ten seasons until the end of 1933-1934. In 1926,
Serafin went to Rome to take over the Teatro Reale dell'Opera, which he resuscitated
during the next decade, 1934-1943. 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 41. 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, 1968, just short of his
Ettore Panizza was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 2, 1875, of parents
of Italian heritage. Panizza's father, and first teacher was a cellist at
the Teatro Colón, in Buenos Aires.
Panizza studied at the Milan Conservatory. Panizza's conducting debut
was at the Rome Opera, in 1897, where he held the position of assistant.
Panizza conducted at La Scala, Milan from about 1908-1919, and then
following the reopening 1921-193. Panizza shared the conducting
duties with Toscanini following the 1921 reopening until Toscanini left for
the New York Philharmonic in 1929. Panizza, continued at La Scala until
the end of the 1931-1932 season. Joseph Horowitz
wrote that Panizza at La Scala was regarded highly by Toscanini and also by
Richard Strauss, who arranged that Panizza would conduct Electra
in Vienna 33.
Panizza also conducted at Covent Garden, London in the early 1930s.
Beginning in the 1934-1935 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 1943-1943 season, when he returned
to Italy following the fall of Mussolini. Also, all during his time
at La Scala and the MET, Panizza continued to conduct at the Teatro Colón
during the 'off' season, which was the prime opera season for the
Teatro Colón. Panizza's conducting style was vigorous and propulsive.
Panizza died in Milan, Italy November 27, 1967.
1939-1942, 1957-1962 Erich Leinsdorf
- principal conductor of the German repertory
Erich Leinsdorf was born Erich J. Landauer in Vienna, Austria on
February 4, 1912. Leinsdorf studied piano, cello and conducting at
the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, followed by the University of
Vienna and the Vienna Conservatory. At the Salzburg Festival,
1934-1938, Leinsdorf was conducting assistant first to Bruno Walter
and then Arturo Toscanini. 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.
During these years, Leinsdorf also conducted opera Italy, in Bologna,
Trieste, Florence, and San Remo. In 1938, Leinsdorf left Vienna
and Europe because of the rise of the Nazi influence and went to
New York. At the recommendation of Lotte
Lehmann to Artur Bodanzky 55, Leinsdorf joined the Metropolitan
Opera in the 1938-1939 season. Beginning in the 1939-1940 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 1939-1942. Leinsdorf found the
Metropolitan Opera progressively more frustrating, with the few
rehearsals and the negative atmosphere of opera house politics.
In 1942 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 1942-1943 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.S. Army 1943-1945, and so was not able to make his mark in
Cleveland. Leinsdorf received his Army discharge in September, 1944.
Meanwhile, the 1944-1945 Cleveland Orchestra season had already been
programmed with guest conductors including George Szell who had very
successful series of November 1944 concerts. The 1945-1946 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, 1947-1955. Then, after a
brief period at the New York City Opera, Leinsdorf returned as a leading
conductor of the Metropolitan Opera during 1957-1962.
Erich Leinsdorf was appointed Music Director of the Boston Symphony in the
1962-1963 season. During his seven seasons with the BSO until 1969,
Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony made many recordings for RCA Victor,
including an excellent series of Prokofiev symphonies and concerti.
1978-1980, Erich Leinsdorf was conductor of the Berlin Radio Orchestra.
After the departure of Lorin
Maazel from his stormy Cleveland tenure in 1982, Erich Leinsdorf returned to
Cleveland frequently to provide continuity prior to the arrival of Christoph
von Dohnányi in the 1984-1985 season. Erich Leinsdorf
in his last years divided his residence among Sarasota, Florida,
Zurich, Switzerland, and New York. Erich Leinsdorf died in a Zurich
hospital, suffering from cancer on September 11, 1993. 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.
George Szell rehearsing in his first season with the Cleveland Orchestra 1947
George Szell was born in Budapest, Hungary on June 7, 1897.
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 (1861-1924),
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 1909 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 1913 or 1914 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 1915, he conducted the
Blüthner Orchestra, sponsored by the piano company, in Berlin.
Also in 1915, at age 18, Szell gained appointment as one of the
conductors at the Berlin Royal Opera
or "Königliche Kapelle", after 1919 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 1917 acoustic recording of
Strauss's Don Juan, opus 20. 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
69525, 69526, 65856, and 65857 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 1917, Szell had the opportunity to
become conductor of the Municipal Theatre, Strasbourg on the recommendation
of Otto Klemperer, whom he succeeded. In 1918, Szell went to
the German Opera (Neues deutsches Theater) in Prague. This experience
was followed in about 1921-1924 by conducting appointments of the Darmstadt
Theater and of the Deutsche Oper - Düsseldorf. In 1924,
Georg Szell returned to the renamed Berlin State Opera - Staatsoper Berlin
as a conductor under Erich Kleiber. In 1929, Georg Szell returned
to Prague now as Music Director of the German Opera and of the
Philharmonic. The next season 1930-1931 saw his US premier as a
guest conductor of the St. Louis Symphony in 1930, where he returned
in 1931. Szell was considered a candidate for the St. Louis
Symphony music directorship, vacant since the 1927 departure of Rudolph
Ganz to the Chicago Musical College. Meanwhile, Szell continued
his posts in Prague until 1937, when he accepted two concurrent orchestra
responsibilities: the Residente Orchestra in the Hague - Netherlands and the
Scottish Orchestra (later the Scottish National Orchestra) in Glasgow.
In 1938 and 1939, George Szell performed extensively in Australia with the
Australian Broadcasting Company. Returning from Australia in 1939,
with war beginning in Europe, George Szell stayed in New York City,
where he initially taught at the Mannes School of Music. In the
summers of 1939 and 1940, Szell was a conductor at the Hollywood Bowl.
An important break for Szell was Toscanini's invitation conduct the
NBC Symphony in 1941. 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 1942-1943 season, succeeding Erich Leinsdorf.
George Szell continued at the Metropolitan Opera for four seasons 1942-1946.
After Arthur Rodzinski accepted the Music Director position of the
New York Philharmonic in December, 1942, George Szell was a candidate, along
with Erich Leinsdorf and Vladimir Golschmann to become Music Director of the
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 1944-1945 season, when Leinsdorf was available to
conduct, the Cleveland Orchestra season had already been programmed with
guest conductors including George Szell. The 1945-1946 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 1946-1947 season. This began one of the legendary
Conductor - Orchestra partnerships of the twentieth century.
Fritz Busch was born in Siegen, Westphalia, Germany on March 13, 1890.
Fritz's father had wanted to be a musician, and starting as a carpenter, he later became
a violin maker 86. He brought up a family that was musical; Fritz's
younger brother Adolf Busch (1891-1952) was a violinist, and Hermann Busch (1898-1975)
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
86. At Cologne, he studied
piano under Karl Boettcher and conducting under Fritz Steinbach (1855-1916).
In 1909, 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 1912, 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 1918 for
Busch to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic in music of Reger led Fritz
Busch to be appointed conductor in Stuttgart 1918-1922. In 1922, Busch moved to
the post he was early associated with, as Music Director of the Semper Opera in
Dresden, Germany. Fritz Busch developed the Semper Opera into one of the
leading opera houses of Europe. He led the premieres of several Richard
Strauss operas: Intermezzo (1924) and Die Ägyptische Helena - The Egyptian Helen
(1928). Busch prepared the premiere of Strauss' Arabella in 1933. 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 was expelled from the Semper Opera, and Clemens Krauss conducted the
premiere 85. At this time, Busch was invited to conduct at the Colon
Theater in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he went in 1933, leaving Germany.
Fritz Busch was Music Director of the Glyndebourne Music Festival 1934-1951.
During this same period, Fritz Busch was principal guest conductor of the Danish National
Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen 1934-1951. He also guest conducted many leading
orchestras in the 1930s and 1940s, including the NBC
Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra,
and. Fritz Busch made his Metropolitan Opera debut November 26, 1945 with Wagner's
Lohengrin 89. 1945-1949, Busch was one of the principal conductors of
the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, not only in German, but in the Italian repertoire.
Fritz Busch in the late 1940s
In early 1951, Fritz Busch accepted the direction of the Vienna
Staatsoper. In the Summer of 1951, Fritz Busch conducted at the Glyndebourne, and
took Glyndebourne to the Edinburgh Festival. Busch had progressive heart disease
during the previous five years, and on July 20, 1951 he collapsed during a performance
of Don Giovanni 88. Although ill, was able to complete the season
with at Glyndebourne and Edinburgh. He was to have taken the Glyndebourne
company on a U.S. tour in 1952. However, Fritz Busch died of a heart attack in
a London hotel on September 14, 1951 87. So, Fritz Busch's death at
age only 61 prevented him from taking up either the Vienna Staatsoper position or
the Glyndebourne U.S. tour. Fritz Busch certainly had a successful career in
North and South America, and in England and Denmark. 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, 1888.
Reiner in Budapest intended to study law, at the urging of his father,
but in 1899, he entered the Franz Liszt Academy, where he studied piano (including
with Bela Bartok) and composition (Leo Weiner). Reiner had his initial experiences
as a répétiteur at the German Comic Opera at Budapest in 1908. In
1910-1911, Reiner was conductor at the German Opera House in Ljubljana
(now in Slovenia) under Vaclav Talich (1883-1961). In 1914, Reiner
moved to Dresden, conducting at the Saxon Court Oper, where
he came into extended contact with Richard Strauss. In Dresden,
Reiner conducted the first performance of Strauss's 'Die Frau ohne
Schatten', immediately following its Vienna premieres in 1919. Reiner
left Dresden in 1921 and then emigrated to the U.S. in 1922 to become
conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony, following his predecessors
Frank Van der Stucken (1895-1907), Leopold Stokowski (1909-1912), and
Eugène Ysaÿe (1918-1922). Fritz Reiner stayed in Cincinnati for eleven
seasons, from 1922-1933. By the 1925-1926 season, only 25 of the
original 92 musicians of the orchestra when Reiner arrived in 1922
were still with the Cincinnati Symphony. Reiner became a U.S. citizen in
1928. Beginning in 1931, Reiner was in charge of the conducting program at the
Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where he continued until 1938. In
the 1938-1939 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 1947-1948
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 1943 Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. 1949-1953 and
as guest conductor later, Fritz Reiner was the principal among
a number of staff conductors at the MET, during the early regime of Rudolf
Bing, who became General Manager in 1950. While at the MET, Reiner conducted
a number of famous productions, including in 1949, the Strauss Salome with soprano
Ljuba Welitsch as Salome, and the U.S. premiere of Stravinsky's 'The Rake's Progress'
in 1951. In 1953, Reiner was named Music Director of the Chicago Symphony, a
post he maintained for nine seasons until the end of the 1961-1962 season.
Reiner then became Musical Advisor in Chicago for the 1962-1963 season. Even
though Georg Solti famously claimed that prior to his arrival in Chicago in 1969,
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, 1960, Reiner did not conduct the Chicago Symphony
until late March, 1961 31. 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,
1963, Reiner withdrew to his long-time home, Rambleside in Connecticut.
Fritz Reiner died in New York City November 15, 1963.
Rafael Kubelik was born June 29, 1914 in Bychory, a Czech village about 50 km
east of Prague. Rafael was the sixth of 8 musical children of the famous
Bohemian violinist Jan Kubelik (1880-1940) and his wife Countess Marianne
Czáky-Szell. 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
1928, where he studied violin, piano, composition, and conducting, where he
graduated with his diploma in 1933. In 1935 and 1936, Rafael Kubelik
toured with his father, first in Europe and in 1936 in the US and Canada,
Jan playing the violin, and Rafael accompanying on piano, or conducting
Publicity for Jan and Rafael Kubelik touring the US in 1936
In 1936, Kubelik was appointed by Vaclav Talich to
Assistant Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. In 1937, when Talich
was unable to take the Czech Philharmonic on a UK tour, Kubelik substituted
for him112. Kubelik was Director of the Brno Opera House
from 1939-1941, and was chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic
1942-1948. In 1948, 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. Rafael Kubelik was offered
conducting positions in the UK, including as a successor to Sir Adrian
Boult at the BBC Orchestra, but opted instead for the Chicago
Symphony. Kubelik was Music Director of the Chicago Symphony
for three seasons 1950-1953. 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 109, 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. On October 6, 1954, Kubelik was named Music Director of
Covent Garden Opera, serving 1955-1958. 108. However, Kubelik's
time at the Covent Garden Opera was also stormy, with Sir Thomas Beecham,
among others, criticizing having a foreign Music Director of Covent
Garden. Although Kubelik remained, he did not renew his contract
in 1958. Although Kubelik had refused to conduct in Germany
following World War 2, he accepted to become Music Director of the
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1961. Kubelik remained in
Munich 1961-1980 producing also numerous recordings. Kubelik took
Swiss citizenship in 1967 110 In late 1971, Goran Gentele,
the new General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera asked Kubelík to
become Music Director, a newly created position, which even Arturo
Toscanini did not hold. Kubelik and Gentele had a good working
relationship, and Kubelík accepted, being named Music Director of the
Metropolitan Opera in 1972 111. However, Gentele died in an
automobile accident in Italy on July 18, 1972, which undermined Kubelík's
working conditions at the MET. Kubelik made his Metropolitan Opera
debut in October, 1973 with Les Troyens. 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
1974, five months after his debut, he resigned. James Levine
subsequently succeeded Kubelik 110. In later years,
Kubelik's health deteriorated, due to heart disease and arthritis,
which forced his retirement in 1985 112. However,
Rafael Kubelik did conduct on further occassions: he returned to
Czechoslovakia in 1990 to conduct "Ma Vlast" at the opening
of the first Prague Spring Festival after the Vaclav Havel "Velvet
Revolution". He also returned to Chicago on several occasions,
the last being on October 18, 1991, the commemorative Centennial concert
of the CSO, recreating the first Theodore Thomas concert of October 16,
1891. Kubelik conducted the Dvorak Hussika Overture at that
Centennial celebration. Rafael Kubelik died near Lucerne, Switzerland
on August 11, 1996.
Valery Gergiev - Principal Guest Conductor
Valery Abisalovich Gergiev was born May 2, 1953 in Moscow, USSR. 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 1972-1977.
At the Conservatory, he studied with Professor Ilya Aleksandrovich Musin
(1903-1999), whose many students included Semyon Bychkov, Oleg Caetani,
Konstantin Simeonov, and Yuri Temirkanov, and as well as Valery
graduation from the Conservatory, Gergiev was appointed in 1978 assistant
conductor to Yuri Temirkanov at the the Kirov Opera 91 (which
reverted to its historic name of the Mariinsky Theater in 1992).
Gergiev became the Director of the Kirov Opera in 1988, and guided it
through its transition 1992-1993 back to its roots as the Mariinsky Theater
92. In 1991, Valery Gergiev conducted acclaimed productions
at the Bavarian State Opera (Boris Godunov), and the San Francisco
Opera (War and Peace). In 1992, the Kirov - Mariinsky Opera
also performed under Gergiev in New York City 90. In 1993,
Gergiev made his debut at Covent Garden, London (Eugene Onegin)
91. Beginning in 1988, Gergiev was a regular
guest conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and then during
1995-2008, Gergiev became Chief (or Principal) Conductor of the Rotterdam
Philharmonic 93. Since about 1991, Gergiev has
guest-conducted most of the leading orchestras of the world.
Valery Gergiev made his Metropolitan Opera debut on April 2, 1993 with
Otello. Gergiev was named Principal Guest Conductor of the
Metropolitan Opera for the 1997-1998 season, and remained for 11 seasons
until the end of 2007-2008.
- 1973-1975 - Principal Conductor, 1975-present - Music Director
James Levine was born June 23, 1943 in that musical city of
Cincinnati, Ohio. 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. At age
10, he played the Mendelssohn Second Piano Concerto at a Cincinnati
Symphony youth concert. Also at age 10, Levine began study
with Walter Levin, first violin of the LaSalle Quartet, then
quartet-in-residence in Cincinnati. (Levin apparently initially said
'the ten-year-old has not been born that I would teach'.)
In the summer of 1956, at age 13, Levine studied at
Rudolf Serkin's Marlboro Music School in Vermont.
The next summer, in 1957, Levine attended the Aspen Music School in
Colorado, where he studied with with pianist Rosina Lhévinne
(1880-1976), even though Levine had already settled on conducting
as a career. His relationship with Rosina Lhévinne continued
over the next decades. In 1961, Levine entered the Juilliard
School, where he studied conducting with Jean Morel (1903-1975).
James Levine graduated from Juilliard in 1964, just before his
twenty-first birthday. In later years, James Levine
said that the three most influential persons on his musical
development were Walter Levin, Rosina Lhévinne, and Jean Morel.
Levine thought that Jean Morel was perhaps not one of the great conductors,
but a very good teacher of preparation and conducting technique
51. In 1964-1965 season, Levine studied with George Szell
and the Cleveland Orchestra, where he became assistant conductor to
Szell 1965-1970. In 1971, Levine succeeded Seiji Ozawa as Music
Director of Chicago's Ravinia Festival. From 1971-1994, for
twenty-three seasons, James Levine was Music Director of the Ravinia
Festival each summer, being succeeded in turn by Christoph Eschenbach.
During this period, 1974-1978, Levine was also Music Director of the
Cincinnati May Festival in his home town. Levine made his Metropolitan
Opera debut in the summer of 1971, with an acclaimed performance of Tosca,
followed by return engagements. Then, in the 1973-1974 season,
Levine was appointed Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera.
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
51. James Levine is said to have considered such an
arrangement unworkable. The situation evolved, including the
departure of Chapin. Then, for the 1976-1977 season, James Levine
was appointed Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, a position Levine
still holds. 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 1908-1915.
At the MET, Levine has every year improved the working conditions and the
quality of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. 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 1972. James Levine became the fourteenth Music Director of the
Boston Symphony in the 2004-2005 season. Since his appointment in Boston,
Levine has suffer health problems, including surgery in 2008 and 2009.
Most serious was lengthy spinal surgery in April, 2010. However, James
Levine made a triumphant return to open the 2010-2011 Boston Symphony season
on October 2, 2010 101. 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, 2011.
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 1980, when James
Levine began to progressively reduce individual musician workload
and adding second or alternate musicians for the key orchestral
David Berkowitz in his enjoyable memoire
Behind the Gold Curtain2 give in intimate look at the life of the Metropolitan
Orchestra musician when he began as a viola player in 1936, until
his retirement fifty years later. In 1936, he states, the
orchestra musicians were contracted for 8 performances per week, 7
evening operas and one Saturday matinee 3. By
1961, 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.
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 1966 prior to the
opening of the new Metropolitan Opera house in Lincoln Center.
the musicians allowed their contract to be extended, and worked for a year without a contract
leading up to the opening of the new opera house in the Autumn of
1966. 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 1961. The Orchestra prevailed
on Sir Rudolf Bing, General Manager from 1950 to 1972 by threatening to
delay the opening of the new Opera House at Lincoln
Center. The principal issue was that of reducing the weekly performance load.
They gained a reduction to 6.5 performance per week (a night off every
second week), and further progressive reductions to 5 performances a week by 1970
4. Also, they gained, for the first time, group medical
As he gained administrative
authority, James Levine, starting in 1980
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.
number of performances per week decreased, the season however,
gradually increased from 12 weeks in the 1930s 16 weeks 1937-1945
13 and to 26 weeks by 1952.
This would also increase in those years with extended national
tours, such as 1948 and 1949, when ten addition weeks of touring was
added 5. By the 1980s, 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.
From its inception until the end of World War 1, the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra was predominantly composed of German trained
musicians. This was also the case in many of the U.S. symphony
orchestras, including New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.
Anne Mischakoff Heiles in her excellent book
writes, quoting also from David Mann: '...Soon he [Mann] was asked to
substitute at the Metropolitan Opera and at two Philharmonic concerts
led by Anton Seidl. Rehearsals were conducted in German, and American
musicians were a rarity - only three of the Philharmonic's hundred
Joseph Horowitz in his book
Classical music in America writes: '...A comparison of MET rosters
for 1914-1915 and 1934-1935 (as found in the Metropolitan Opera
Archives) shows that the earlier orchestra was by far more German
than Italian. In 1934-1935, however, no fewer than fifty-three of
eighty-five musicians on the permanent roster had incontestably
Italian names...' 33.
So, the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra, much like most other leading U.S. orchestras
following World War 1 was made up of progressively more and more
musicians of Italian and French as well as Russian
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.S. conservatories. The fact
of two massive World Wars devastated Europe in the first half
of the Twentieth Century, and the rapid growth of U.S. conservatories
such as the Curtis Institute, the Juilliard, Peabody, New England
Conservatory, the music department of Indiana University, and
many others all contributed to these changes.
These changes have continued to evolve until
today, most U.S. orchestras, including the MET, are
made up primarily of American-trained musicians, with a flavoring of
European and increasingly Asian and Latin American trained musicians.
Note: 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.
Quick Navigation: Click Below to Jump to Principal Musician Sections
The Concertmaster title: 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
1980, 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
Guy Lumia was the first of these added
Concertmasters in 1984, alternating with Raymond
Gniewek (who was Concertmaster for 43 years,
Anne Mischakoff Heiles is a violist and gifted author of
America's Concertmasters6, and Mischa Mischakoff: 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 281) "...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." This is particularly
striking, given the many famous musicians who graced
the pit of the Metropolitan
Opera house. 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.
Concertmasters of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
1883 - 1884 Signor Ciofi
The "Signor Ciofi" or Mr. 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.
Nahan Franko was born in New Orleans
July 23, 1861 into a large musical family (11 children).
His family lost all during the Civil War, the father, Hamman
Franko being an ardent Confederate supporter.
Hamman Franco and his wife Helene Bergman Franko were German Jews
who emigrated to Texas. The original family name for Hamman
Franco, a jeweler, was Hollander, a leading German Jewish family
which also produced a number of musicians. In 1864, following
the occupation of New Orleans by Union forces, and Hamman's finances
being threatened, the Franko family relocated to Germany,
Nahan Franko and his brother
Sam Franko (1857-1937) studied with Heinrich Karl Hermann de Ahna
(1835-1892) in Berlin - probably at the Berlin Akademische Hochschule
für Musik where de Ahna taught under Joseph Joachim (1831-1907)
direction. Nahan's sister, Jeanne, was a pianist.
The Franko family returned to New York in 1869. Later, both
Nahan and Sam Franko returned to Berlin for further study
with Joachim and August Wilhelmj (1845-1908). Nahan Frank
began as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, according
to Heiles 7 probably in 1883. He of course
did not play at the MET when it was closed 1897 - 1898. Also, he did
not play there in the 1904 - 1905 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 100
performances of the Metropolitan Opera in the first decade
of the 1900s, including the series of Sunday evening
orchestral concerts. During the 1910s and 1920s, Nahan
Franko also lead the 'Franko Orchestra' at concerts and
social occasions. Nahan Franko died in Amityville, New York
on June 7, 1930 subsequent to a stroke.
Carlos Enrique Frederico Auguste Hasselbrink was born on
July 23 or 24, 1858 24 in Barranquilla, Columbia
of a French father, Charles Hasselbrink and Cuban
mother, Leocadia Muraillat. 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 (1819-1890).
Hasselbrink emigrated to the U.S. in 1880. In 1884 he was
the New York Symphony, and apparently, according to
Anne Mischakoff Heiles, also Concertmaster of the
Metropolitan Opera. (From 1883 to 1891, the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra was made up primarily of musicians of the
New York Symphony.) Hasselbrink was active as a concert musician
in New York in 1894. Hasselbrink later taught at
the Institute of Musical Art (the predecessor of Juilliard)
in New York City 1906-1932. In 1928, Carlos Hasselbrink moved to
Bridgeport, Connecticut where he died on October 4, 1946.
Max Guhlke, born in New York in 1879, was listed to
replace Nahan Franko in 1904 as Concertmaster, following
10 years of study in Germany, but Guhlke killed
himself on October 27, 1904. Newspaper accounts at the
time said he "...ended his life with a revolver shot.
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..." 8
Max Bendix was born in March 28, 1866 in Detroit, Michigan. Max Bendix
had a long relationship with Theodore Thomas, joining the Thomas orchestra
at the Cincinnati May Festival in 1878, when Bendix was only 12 6.
In 1880, he became Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Orchestra under the conductor
Maratsek (a musician whom I have not been able to identify) 6.
In about 1883-1884, Bendix was Concertmaster of the
Germania Orchestra of Philadelphia.
In 1885-1886, still only 19, Bendix was a first violin in
as conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. Also in the 1885-1886 season,
Max Bendix was Concertmaster of the Arion Society of New York, a choral
and orchestral society at that time conducted by
Frank Van der Stucken.
In about 1886-1887, Max Bendix toured as Concertmaster with the
Theodore Thomas Orchestra 6. This was at least his second
professional collaboration with Theodore Thomas. Max Bendix spent the
year 1889 studying in Europe, and in 1890 again was Concertmaster of the
Thomas orchestra at the Cincinnati May Festive. Then, when in
the Autumn of 1891 Theodore Thomas created the first season of the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra (then called the "Chicago Orchestra"),
Thomas again selected Max Bendix as his Concertmaster. In
1893, Chicago organized the World's Columbian Exposition,
celebrating the 400th 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 1876,
but reluctantly accepted. The Thomas misgivings proved well-founded,
and after months of internecine politics at the Exposition, Thomas
finally resigned in August, 1893 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 1896-1897 season. The
New York Times on September 18, 1896, in an article apparently based
on the Bendix view, reported "...the breach between the old
friends [Theodore Thomas and Max Bendix], which began when Bendix
took charge of the orchestra when Thomas left it in a huff, during
the World's Fair, has gradually widened, and this year, Bendix was
not given a renewal of his contract. 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." In 1897-1898,
Max Bendix made a U.S. transcontinental tour with Eugène Ysaÿe
(1858-1931), violin, Henri Marteau (1874-1934), violin, Jean Gerardy
(1877-1929), cello, Aimé Lachaume (1877-1944), piano. Bendix was
also active in chamber music, forming in 1899 the Bendix String Quartet:
Max Bendix first,
Eugene Boegner second,
Ottokar Novacek viola,
Leo Schulz cello 117.
The turbulent career of Bendix also included extensive conducting.
He conducted the St. Louis World's Fair orchestra in 1904. Bendix
became Concertmaster of the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the 1904 -1905 season under
Van der Stucken.
Max Bendix also conducted at the Metropolitan Opera starting in
1905. In 1907, in yet another shift, Bendix went to the rival
Manhattan Opera Company as Concertmaster and assistant conductor, under
the Music Director Cleofonte Campanini (1860-1919), where he conducted the
Sunday night orchestral concerts. Max Bendix also conducted an orchestra
briefly in San Francisco. At the end of the San Francisco Symphony 1918-1919
season under Music Director Alfred Hertz, there was reported dissention by some
San Francisco Symphony musicians, who organized the 'People's Philharmonic
Orchestra' 70. They invited Nikolai Sokoloff (1886-1965) to
be their conductor. This group played during the summer of 1919, 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 70. Max Bendix
died in Chicago December 6, 1945, age 79 after an eventful career, having played
a pioneering role in the development and expansion of US orchestras.
Eugene Boegner (or Eugen Bögner) was born March 3, 1870 in Strehlen, at that
time in Prussia, Germany, and now at the southwest boarder of Poland.
Boegner emigrated to the U.S. in September, 1891 to join Theodore Thomas in the
inaugural 1891-1892 season of the Chicago Orchestra. Eugene Boegner played
in the first violin section of the Theodore Thomas Chicago Orchestra (the Chicago
Symphony) for six seasons, 1891 - 1897. Also in the 1890s, Boegner joined
Bernard Listemann in the Listemann String Quartet, consisting of Listemann, first
violin, Bruno Kuehn, second, Eugene Boegner (1870- ) viola, and Bruno Steindel,
cello. 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
1897-1898 season. Boegner remained as a first violin until the 1910-1911
season, when he was appointed Concertmaster. Eugene Boegner continued in
the Concertmaster chair for four seasons until the end of the 1913-1914
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 (1867-1920), including
Joseph Joachim (1831-1907). This quartet continued at least until
the 1900-1901 season. Eugene Boegner became a U.S. citizen in 1904.
He returned to Germany in the summer of 1916, with no subsequent record
of his musical activity in the U.S. thereafter. So, he may have
remained in Germany during World War 1 and thereafter.
Gino Nastrucci in 1922, with wife Emilia, and daughters Anna Marie and Geraldine
Gino Nastrucci was born in Busseto, near Parma in the
north of Italy on January 18, 1879. Gino Nastrucci’s
father, Francisco, was a violin teacher in Busseto, which also was
Verdi’s home town. From 1904-1913, Gino Nastrucci was Concertmaster
at La Scala, Milan, first under Toscanini (1898 – 1908) and then under
Tullio Serafin (1909 – 1914) 21,22. Toscanini, who was
at the Metropolitan Opera from 1908-1915 invited Gino Nastrucci to come
to the Metropolitan Orchestra in 1913. Nastrucci was a long-time friend
of Toscanini, and Sacchi says that Nastrucci was 'always cheerful, always
joking' 21. Gino Nastrucci came to the U.S. in September,
1913. The Musician’s Union agreed to waive the 6 months waiting
period, and Nastrucci joined the orchestra in November for the 1913-1914
season as Concertmaster 22. 1914-1915 was Toscanini’s
last season at the Met. Nastrucci served as Concertmaster of the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for eight seasons. Nastrucci also
played with the New York Symphony during their European Tour of France,
Italy Belgium, Netherlands, and England in May and June of 1920.
Gino Nastrucci also performed with Metropolitan Opera conductor Artur
Bodanzky at the New York 'Friends of Music' concerts. In about
1924, Gino Nastrucci seems to have returned to Italy, and performed
in Europe. From 1925-1927, Nastrucci seems to have served as
a musician on Italian cruise ships on a series of crossings of the
Atlantic. In 1927 Nastrucci is listed as conducting in
Wiesbaden, Germany. From about 1930, Gino Nastrucci
had returned to conduct at La Scala Milan. From 1927
into the early 1930s Nastrucci made a number of operatic
recordings with La Scala forces.
Leopold Kramer was born in 1870 in
Prague, then part of Austria. He studied at the Prague
Conservatory, and after graduating in about 1890, became
Concertmaster of the Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne, Germany.
Kramer was then Concertmaster of the Amsterdam
Concertgebouw 1892-1894. Leopold Kramer was also, perhaps
just before coming to Chicago, the Concertmaster of the St.
Petersburg Philharmonic. In 1897, Leopold Kramer came to
Chicago to join Theodore Thomas's Chicago Symphony.
In November, 1909, after Theodore Thomas's death (in 1906), with
Frederick Stock now Music Director, Kramer became angry at
remarks made by Stock. 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. Later, Leopold Kramer
became Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic for one season,
1913-1914. As was the practice of European musicians in that
era, Kramer returned to Europe during the summer of 1914.
Apparently, he was blocked from returning to New York, because of
the outbreak of World War 1. Leopold Kramer was replaced at
New York Philharmonic as Concertmaster by Maximilian Pilzer.
Leopold Kramer was later Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra for one season, 1922-1923. Established in New York City,
Leopold Kramer taught at the Institute for Musical Arts (later renamed
Juilliard) 1920-1924. In the summer of 1924, Kramer returned
to Prague to teach, where he lived at least until 1936.
Pierre Henrotte was born August 23, 1883 in Liege, Belgium, and came to the
U.S. in 1907 at age 24. Henrotte was Concertmaster of the Chicago
Opera in 1916 - 1923. Henrotte was active in the 'Maverick Concerts'
(as was Georges Barrère) held in the summers in Woodstock in the New York
Catskills region, organizing the programs from 1916 - 1926.
At the Maverick Concerts, Henrotte was also active in the Maverick
String Quartet: Pierre Henrotte first, Leon Barzir second,
viola, and Silvio Lavatelli cello.
In 1919, Henrotte joined the New York Chamber Music Society. Henrotte
was Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera 1923-1936, except for the
1925-1926 season, when Eugene Dubois replaced him. During this 1925-1926
season, Henrotte was Concertmaster of the Minneapolis Symphony, but
was unhappy there, and returned to the Metropolitan Opera beginning with
the 1926 - 1927 season. Pierre Henrotte also conducted the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra for special concerts, and later at the Curtis Institute also
instructed in conducting and solfège. He died in St. Augustine, Florida
on January 1, 1974.
Eugene Dubois was born in Montreal, Canada of Belgian
parents on July 22, 1892. He studied violin at the
Brussels Conservatory. He emigrated to the U.S. in
1908. He became Concertmaster of the
Metropolitan Opera in 1925. The next season, after the
Metropolitan Opera, Dubois was Concertmaster of the
Chicago Opera from 1926. He also lead summer concerts
at New York Lewisohn Stadium concerts. In the 1930s,
Dubois was Concertmaster of the Columbia Broadcasting
house orchestra. Dubois returned to the
Metropolitan Opera as Concertmaster during World
War 2, 1944 - 1945, when the younger musicians were
at war. He also played with the NBC Symphony
under Toscanini. Dubois taught at the University of
Miami beginning in the 1950s. Eugene Dubois
died in Miami March 22, 1983, age 90.
Stefan Frenkel was born in Warsaw, Poland November 21 1902.
In Warsaw, Frenkel studied violin with his uncle Maurice Frenkel. Frenkel
then studied in Berlin at the Hochschule für Musik 1919-1921 with Adolf Busch
and Karl Flesch. Frenkel, along with Szymon Goldberg was
Concertmaster of the Dresden Philharmonic
1924-1927 under Eduard Mörike 83. 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 was a particular friend Kurt Weill, and in 1927, gave the premiere
of Weill's Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra. In 1929 in Dresden,
Frenkel gave the premiere of the Weill Concerto for Violin and String
Orchestra. With the Nazi rise to power, Frenkel left for Switzerland
where he became concertmaster of L'Orchestra de la Suisse Romande in
Geneva. In 1936, Frenkel moved to New York City, where he became
Principal Concertmaster 1936-1940. Frenkel became a US citizen
in 1944. 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. Later, Frenkel was also
at the Santa Fe Opera in off-seasons. From 1964-1968, Frenkel
taught violin at Princeton University in New Jersey.
Stefan Frenkel died in New York on March 1, 1979.
Michael Rosenker was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on November
23, 1895. As a youth, Rosenker studied with Pyotr Stoliarsky
(1871-1944) in Odessa, (at that time) Russia. He then enrolled
in the St. Petersburg conservatory to study with Sergei Korguyev
(1863-1932), 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. tells the
'...Korguyev was enraged and told Rosenker, 'You're not leaving
for Auer; I'm throwing your out !...' 80.
Rosenker studied with Auer in Vienna for three years, and
also played in the Vienna Volksoper. In 1917, 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.S. in 1922. Upon his arrival in New York City,
he played violin with Erno Rapée's (1891-1945) Capital Theater Orchestra,
sitting next to Concertmaster Eugene Ormandy 80.
During the late 1920s and into the 1930s, 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). Michael
Rosenker was Concertmaster of the MET Orchestra for two
seasons, 1940-1942. In 1940, Rosenker also performed
the U.S. premiere of the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Violin Sonata
with the composer. Then, in the 1942-1943 season, Michael
Rosenker joined the Pittsburgh Symphony under Fritz Reiner for one
season. 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.  In the
1943-1944 season, Rosenker became Associate Concertmaster of the
New York Philharmonic, where he remained until the end of the
1961-1962 season. Interestingly, Michael Rosenker shows up with
John Corigliano Sr. and several other NY Philharmonic musicians
in the 1947 film 'Carnegie Hall'. Michael Rosenker became
Concertmaster again, with the Baltimore Symphony for two seasons,
1962-1964 and then in Tokyo with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony
during the 1966-1967 season. In the late 1960s,
Rosenker moved to California, where he was Concertmaster with
the Monterey Symphony 1967-1968. 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, 1996 at age 101.
Hugo Kolberg was born in Warsaw, Poland on August 29, 1898.
As a youth, Kolberg was a violin prodigy, beginning studies
at age 5, and playing as a child for the King Alfonso XIII of
Spain 75. Kolberg was later a student of
Bronislaw Huberman76. In 1921, age only 19,
Hugo Kolberg became Concertmaster of the Oslo Philharmonic.
He then was Concertmaster of Paris and Copenhagen orchestras.
In about 1931, Hugo Kolberg was appointed Concertmaster of the
Berlin Philharmonic, alternating as Concertmaster with the great
Szymon Goldberg (1909-1993). In 1934, 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. Consequently, Hugo Kolberg and his
wife Rosa left Germany and relocated to England in 1938.
Kolberg then came to the U.S. in January, 1939. Hugo Kolberg
became Concertmaster of the Pittsburg Symphony under Fritz Reiner
in the 1940-1941 season. 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 1941-1942, the last full
Cleveland season Artur Rodzinski, who departed for New York in
December, 1942. Kohlberg reportedly left Cleveland following
a salary dispute 77. Hugo Kolberg was replaced
at Cleveland the next season by another former Berlin Philharmonic
Concertmaster (1925-1926) under Wilhelm Furtwängler,
. During the next two seasons, 1942-1944,
Hugo Kolberg was Concertmaster of the Orchestra of the Metropolitan
Opera. 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, 1946-1949.
Kolberg was later Concertmaster of the Lyric Theatre of Chicago
(The Chicago Opera). After 35 years as a concertmaster of
leading orchestras in Europe and the U.S., Hugo Kolberg retired
and devoted his activities to teaching. In the 1950s, Kohlberg
was head of the violin department at the Chicago Musical College
76. 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 75. Hugo Kolberg died in Hempstead,
Long Island, New York on February 27, 1979, age 80.
In the 1948-1949 season,
was second Concertmaster of the MET Orchestra.
1945-1957 Felix Eyle
Felix Eyle with his Guadagnini violin which had belonged to
Mahler's niece and Arnold Rosé's wife Alma Rosé.
Felix Eyle was born in Lvov, Poland (now in the Ukraine)
in 1899. Felix Eyle studied violin at the Vienna Academy of Music
and the Performing Arts. He was a student of Arnold Rosé,
long-time Concertmaster of the Berlin Opera Orchestra and later of the
Vienna Court Opera. Eyle was a violinist with the Vienna Opera, and
its subset, the Vienna Philharmonic. In 1928, Eyle emigrated to the
United States in 1928. Felix Eyle was first violinist of the
Buxbaum Quartet. Recruited by Artur Rodzinski, Felix Eyle became
Assistant Concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra for twelve
seasons, 1933-1945. During this period, Eyle also taught at
the Cleveland Institute of Music79.  Then, beginning
in the 1945-1946 season at the time of the disruption of the Cleveland
Orchestra during its search for a Music Director and the World War 2
turnover of orchestra musicians, Eyle was appointed Concertmaster of the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Eyle was the Metropolitan orchestra
manager from 1957 until he retired in 1970. For more
than a decade, and into his mid-eighties, Felix Eyle
taught violin at Colgate University, in Hamilton, New York
1973 - 1986, and died from a heart attack in Hamilton on July 5, 1988
Raymond Gniewek was born in November, 1931 in East
Meadow, Long Island, New York.
He studied at the Eastman School of Music, where Max
Rudolf who was at that time an assistant manager at the
MET worked with Gniewek. Max Rudolf also advised
Gniewek of the Concertmaster opening
at the MET. When in 1957 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 115 different opera scores. Gniewek married
Metropolitan Opera star soprano Judith Blegen (1941 - )
in 1977. After 43 years at the MET, Raymond
Gniewek retired in May, 2000, but remains active.
He taught at the Tanglewood Music
Center and the youth of the Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra
in Switzerland. Invited by Seiji Ozawa, Raymond
Gniewek was also Concertmaster of Tokyo Opera no Mori
Orchestra each Spring during the mid-2000s. Admired by
James Levine, with whom Gniewek played for 29 seasons,
Levine told New York Times writer Anthony Tommasini
'...The single luckiest thing that happened
to me since I have been at the Met is that Ray Gniewek
was the concertmaster.' In the same article, Gniewek
explained part of his art: '...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.' 42
Following his decision to retire from the MET, Gniewek
agreed to remain an additional season to assure the
smooth transition to his successor Concertmaster, Nick
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 1980-1996,
a very fine opera orchestra was transformed into a group
equal to the world's leading symphony orchestras.
James Levine, during the 1980s 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 1984-1985 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
Guy Lumia was born in 1937 in New York City of Italian heritage
parents. Lumia began studying
violin at age seven. In 1948,
Guy Lumia was accepted to study at the Brooklyn Academy of
Music 46. In 1952, 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.
He also studied with Raphael Bronstein at the Mannes School of
Music in New York City 46. In the 1950s, Guy Lumia
was a member of the first violin section of the Rochester
Philharmonic, while at Eastman. From 1952-1966, Lumia was
also active with the Greenwich Piano Quartet. Other chamber
music activity in the 1960s was the Long Island Chamber
Ensemble. In 1961, Lumia was a Fulbright
Scholar studying with Rene Benedetti in Paris.
Luria was a finalist in
the Paganini Violin Competition in Genoa, and the semi-finalist in
Competition in Moscow 45.
Lumia later studied in
Paris with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He studied further with Yehudi
Menuhin in London. Lumia was Concertmaster of the Santa Fe
Opera Orchestra. In the early 1970s, Lumia toured
Europe as a soloist. In 1973, Lumia
joined the University of Bridgeport (Connecticut) as
Professor of violin. In the 1984-1885 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, 1988, age only 51 as a result of
complications of type 1 diabetes.
Elmira Darvarova was born in Bulgaria and began violin
studies at age 3. She studied violin
at the Music High School of Plovdiv, Bulgaria (150 km east
of Sofia). 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 1977 Jascha Heifetz
granted Darvarova a scholarship to study with him in the U.S. but
she failed to gain a visa from the Bulgarian government.
Darvarova did gain a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School
in London, where she earned a Performer's Certificate.
Later, Darvarova studied with Henryk Szeryng at the
Geneva Conservatory. Darvarova then studied violin at
Indiana University with the famous teacher and former Concertmaster
of the Cleveland Orchestra, Josef Gingold, where she earned an
Elmira Darvarova was subsequently Concertmaster of the
Columbus Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic.
After the death of Guy Lumia, two
musicians of Bulgarian background, Elmira Darvarova and
Konstantin Stoianov were successively Concertmasters of
the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. As such, Elmira
Darvarova was first woman ever to be Concertmaster of the
Metropolitan Opera. (Also, one of the very few female
Concertmasters any of the great orchestras, such as Albena
Danailova, recently appointed Concertmaster of the
Vienna Staatsoper Orchestra/Vienna Philharmonic,
or Emmanuelle Boisvert,
Concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony.) When
Konstantin Stoianov became Concertmaster in 1993, Elmira
Darvarova became Associate Concertmaster of the Orchestra.
Elmira Darvarova was for thirteen seasons 1990-2003 the
Concertmaster of the Grant Park
Symphony, the summer festival orchestra in Chicago.
She resigned this position in June, 2003. Elmira Darvarova
is the founder and the Artistic Director of the
highly-regarded New York Chamber Music Festival.
Elmira Darvarova is married
, fourth horn of the New York Philharmonic
March 1994-present, and who also was a featured player in the great
horn section of the Philadelphia Orchestra for nineteen
Konstantin Stoianov was born in 1961 in Varna, Bulgaria,
on the Black Sea. 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. In September, 1983, Stoianov placed second in
the Rodolfo Lipizer Violin Competition in Italy.
Beginning in 1990, Stoianov became Co-Concertmaster
of the London Philharmonic. Stoianov also conducted
the London Philharmonic for some concerts and recordings.
In 1993, Konstantin Stoianov became the first violin of the
London-based Gabrieli String Quartet (many will recall the first
violin when the Gabrieli started: Kenneth Sillito. In that
year, Stoianov was also selected as Concertmaster
of the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra. After leaving the MET Orchestra in 1999,
Stoianov returned to the UK, where he began to conduct more
Nick Eanet was born in Brooklyn, New York in March, 1972, and his early violin
training was with Nicole DiCecco. Nick Eanet was admitted to the
Juilliard pre-college program in 1984 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 1946 with Mann as first
violin). Throughout his career, Eanet has been active in chamber
music. Following graduation from Juilliard in 1994, Nick Eanet was
for six years first violin of the Mendelssohn String Quartet. He has
also been active in music festivals throughout his career, including
the Mostly Mozart Festival - New York, the Sante Fe Chamber Music Festival
- New Mexico, the Aspen Music Festival - Colorado, Maui Chamber Music
Festival - Hawaii, and the Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs -
Colorado. Upon the departure of Konstantin Stoianov
as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Nick Eanet
was appointed Concertmaster for the 1999-2000 season.
During the Eanet's first season as Concertmaster, Raymond Gniewek
remained for one additional season to assure a smooth transition.
Then, in 2009, Joel Smirnoff, first violinist of the Juilliard
String Quartet for the previous 12 years departed to become President of the
Cleveland Institute of Music. This led to Nick Eanet being invited
to tour with the Juilliard String Quartet. After playing with his
quartet colleagues, during the Summer of 2009, 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 1997,
so Nick Eanet was the third lead violin of the Juilliard Quartet
since its creation in 1946.
Nick Eanet, Ronald Copes, Joel Krosnick, Samuel Rhodes - The Juilliard String Quartet in 2009
However, after two seasons with the Juilliard
String Quartet, Nick Eanet had, reluctantly, to withdraw due to health reasons
which made it impractical for him to tour. However, the good news from
this was that in the 2011-2012 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.
David Chan (Alternate Concertmaster, then
David Chan, born in San Diego, California in May, 1973. His parents
came from Taiwan and met as graduate students at Stanford University
81. His parents encouraged him to study violin from an
early age. David Chan studied at Harvard, receiving his
Bachelor's degree. At the Juilliard School, he went on to earn his
Master's degree, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay (1917-2002). At
Juilliard, Chan also studied violin with Hyo Kang (1950- ).
Chan was bronze medalist in the 1994 Indianapolis International
Violin Competition 82. Chen joined the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra in the 1998-1999 season, initially as alternate Concertmaster.
Then, in the 200-2001 season, Chen advanced to the Concertmaster chair.
Chan made his Carnegie Hall debut under James Levine in the
2002-2003 with the Brahms Double Concerto with cellist
Rafael Figueroa. David Chan has also been active in music festivals,
including the Pacific Music Festival - Japan, the Seattle Chamber Music
Festival, and the La Jolla SummerFest in California. David Chan
married another MET violinist, Catherine Ro, so a Metropolitan family.
Chan has been active in teaching, including at his alma mater, Juilliard
Josef Pasternack was born in Czestochowa in the south of Poland on
July 1, 1878 (probably not 1880 or 1881 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.
He then studied piano and composition at the
Warsaw Conservatory. He later said that at the conservatory,
he had studied most of the instruments of the orchestra sufficiently
to play each instrument. Pasternack emigrated to the US in
1896 first to the New York City area, becoming a citizen in 1901.
In New York, he played in hotel and theater orchestras. In the
1902-1903 season, he joined the violin section of the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra. He was later advanced to the Principal viola
position, perhaps as early as 1903-1904. Beginning in 1904,
Josef Pasternack began performing in recordings for the Victor
Talking Machine Company in their New York and Camden recording
"laboratories" as they were then called by Victor.
Josef Pasternack viola section of the Metropolitan Opera in 1909,
but it seems that he may have continued to conduct the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra 115. In 1916, Pasternack began
working more intensively with Victor.
In 1916, Josef Pasternack joined the staff of the Victor Talking
Machine Company in Camden, New Jersey, where he was a conductor
and also contracted for musicians to play in various Victor
ensembles. Josef Pasternack became Music Director of Victor
in about 1920, responsibilities he shared with Rosario
Bourdon (1885-1961). At Victor, he was a prolific recording
artist, recording with Emilio de Gogorza, Louise Homer, Enrico Caruso,
and conducting the Victor Orchestra in many recordings.
Also in the 1920s, Pasternack stated that he had conducted the
Chicago Symphony and Boston Symphony, but without giving details
115. Beginning in 1928, Josef Pasternack conducted
the NBC radio staff musicians in New York City, with concerts broadcast
right up to his early death at age 61. Josef Pasternack died
in Chicago on May 2, 1940.
Some notes on the Principal viola position.
Albino DiJanni was Principal viola until 1936. In a blind audition
in 1936, John A. DiJanni, Albino's son took over
as Principal viola from his father in 1936, which he continued until
1975. John DiJanni later in his career became the MET Orchestra
Manager until 1975, when he retired to Santa Fe, New Mexico
David Berkowitz, long-time violist of the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra tells an amusing 1936 story of
auditioning for the MET orchestra 9 "...I overheard the
conductors saying...’elder DiJanni was still the best. We must in all
fairness re-engage him as first viola’. Then came the next choice.
Who would be assistant and sit with him at the first stand? They
said that the young DiJanni sounded very well…and decided to seat
him to share the stand with his father. Well it so happened they
were mistaken. The one they thought was Albino DiJanni was John and
vice versa. So they reversed the decision and John become first
violin, and the father Albino, was seated next to him..." Perhaps an
apocryphal story, but amusing all the same.
Albino DiJanni was born in Naples, Italy on July 15, 1888.
Albino DiJanni was said by David Berkowitz to have been a viola
player at La Scala, Milan. Albino DiJanni emigrated to
the U.S. in 1906, and in 1909, married Regina DiJanni who had
been born in New York City in 1893 of Italian heritage
parents. In New York, Albino DiJanni was at first
a musician in a New York hotel orchestra. Albino
DiJanni was appointed Principal viola in about 1930.
Albino DiJanni was first desk partner with his son for
nine seasons, 1939-1944 50. Albino DiJanni
retired from the Metropolitan Opera
at the end of the 1943-1944 season.
John DiJanni was born in New York City in November 23, 1909, son of
Metropolitan Opera Principal viola Albino DiJanni and his
wife Regina. John DiJanni joined the Metropolitan Opera viola
section in the 1931-1932 season 49. Then, four
seasons later, as the result of a reseating competition, John DiJanni
took the Principal viola chair, and his father, Albino became his
stand partner in the second viola chair, as described in the interesting
David Berkowitz story recounted above. John DiJanni remained
Principal viola of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 39 seasons.
John DiJanni's wife, Helen was a former MET Opera ballerina. John
DiJanni was also a session recording musician in New York in the
1950s. Sir Rudolf Bing appointed John DiJanni Personnel Manager of
the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 1969, and still retaining his Principal
viola chair. During the Summers, 1960-1964. John DiJanni was viola of
the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. Beginning with the appointment of
Michael Ouzounian as Associate Principal viola in August 1972, John
DiJanni essentially withdrew from playing, and devoted his activities
to his Personnel Manager responsibilities. After retiring from the
MET in the Fall of 1976, John DiJanni and his wife Helen Rupp DiJanni moved
to New Mexico, where he became Principal Viola of the Orchestra of Santa Fe
1976-1979. He played viola with the Santa Fe Symphony
from 1981-1986. John DiJanni continued active into his
eighties, playing with the Roswell (New Mexico) Symphony
from 1987-1992. He also played played in the New Mexico
Symphony and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
John DiJanni 1980-1985 taught viola at the University of New
Mexico 49, 50. John DiJanni died in
Santa Fe, New Mexico April 20, 2004, age 94.
Michael Ouzounian with Eugene Izotov, Principal oboe of the
Metropolitan Opera and the Chicago Symphony
Michael Ouzounian was born in Detroit on April 3, 1951. In Detroit,
Ouzounian studied with long-time Detroit violin teacher Ara Zerounian (1926- ),
who trained several generations of orchestra musicians, including also Ani and
Ida Kavafian. Ouzounian was a student of Nathan Gordon, Principal viola
of the Detroit Symphony. Michael Ouzounian continued his studies at the Interlochen
Arts Camp in Michigan. In Cleveland, Ouzounian studied with Abraham Skemick
who was Principal viola with the Cleveland Orchestra 1949-1976. Michael
Ouzounian also won the University of Michigan music prize in viola. In the
late 1960s, Ouzounian studied with James Levine as part of the University Circle
Orchestra in Cleveland, while Levine was Assistant to George Szell (1965-1970), the
beginning of a long collaboration between Levine and Ouzounian. Michael Ouzounian
joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as Associate Principal viola in August
1972. However, Ouzounian was from his first day the de facto
Principal, since John DiJanni concentrated on his responsibilities as Personnel
Manager. At the 1980 Ravinia Festival, Michael Ouzounian gave concerts with
cellist Lynn Harrell to excellent reviews. James Levine's performances with
the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in concerts lead to a series of successful recordings,
including an acclaimed Strauss Don Quixote featuring Michael Ouzounian, with his
colleagues Ray Gniewek and Jerry Grossman on Deutsche Grammophon. Michael Ouzounian
is married to Principal bassoon
, another of the MET spouse teams. The opera literature has
many leading parts for the viola, providing us with a rich source of the artistry of
Quick Navigation: Click Below to Jump to Principal Musician Sections
Principal Cellos of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
1886 - 1892 Victor August Herbert
Victor Herbert was born in Dublin in February 1, 1859. Victor's
father Edward Herbert died when Victor was an infant, and subsequently,
Victor and his mother Fanny Lover moved to London. Fanny then
married a German physician, Carl Schmidt. In 1867, Victor joined his
mother in their home in Stuttgart, Germany where he continued to
receive a musical education, and studied cello with Bernhard Cossmann
(1822-1910) in Baden-Baden as a teenager from about 1875-1878.
Herbert then became a soloist and orchestra player. In about 1876,
Victor Herbert entered the Stuttgart Conservatory for further study
with Max Seifritz. Herbert graduated in 1879. In 1880,
Victor Herbert was Principal cello for a year in the orchestra of
Eduard Strauss in Vienna. In 1881, Herbert joined the Court Orchestra
of Stuttgart, where he remained until 1886. In Stuttgart,
he performed as a cello soloist, including in several of his early
compositions. In 1885, he also began teaching cello at the
Neuer Stuttgarter Musikschule, just established. On August 14,
1886, Victor Herbert married Therese Föster (1861-1927), of the Stuttgart
Opera. Later that same year, 1886 the Metropolitan Opera
Company hired Therese Herbert-Föster as Aida in the first U.S. production of the
opera, and Herbert joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as first cellist.
Together Therese and Victor Herbert decided to settle in the United States.
Beginning in 1888, through his friend Anton Seidl, Victor Herbert worked with
the New York Philharmonic, as an assistant conductor, and solo cello soloist.
This continued for the next 11 seasons until the end of the 1897-1898 season
(also the time of Anton Seidl's sudden death in March, 1898).
Then, from 1898 to 1904 Victor Herbert was conductor of the Pittsburgh
Symphony. Victor Herbert was a prolific composer, including of 43 operettas,
and two less successful grand operas. Although he is said to have appeared
always in good health, Victor Herbert died suddenly of a heart attack on
May 26, 1924, just after his final operetta, 'Dream Girl' began its pre-Broadway
Paul Miersch was born on January 18, 1868 in Dresden, Germany.
Miersch's early studies were at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Munich
116. Paul Miersch came to the US in 1887 and for three
years 1888-1891 was a musician and teacher in Washington DC. While
there, he was a musician in the Washington Musical Club.
Paul Miersch was a cellist in the Bayreuth summer festival orchestra in
1891. He played with the New York Philharmonic Society in
1892-1893. The next season, he was Principal cello of the New
York Symphony 1893-1894 where he remained for five seasons 193-1898
116. He then joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
as Principal cello in 1899-1900. Paul Miersch was Principal cello
of the MET for at least eleven seasons until 1910. Paul
Miersch was a member of the New York Manuscript Society 1894-1900,
in which new music by contemporary composers was performed, often
from the composer's manuscript. The great violinist Maud Powell
in 1904-1908 organized the Maud Powell String Quartet: Maud Powell first,
Joseph Kovarik second, Franz Kaltenborn viola, and Paul Miersch
cello 117. Paul Miersch was also an active
composer of concerti and of chamber works. Paul Miersch died
Letz Quartet 1921: Hans Letz first, Horace Britt cello,
Edward Kreiner viola, Edwin Bachmann second
Horace Britt was born on June 18, 1881, in Antwerp, Belgium.
Britt was a child prodigy, and grew up in Paris with his brother
Roger (violin) and his sister Gaëtane (harp), under the supervision
of their parents Ernst and Maria Britt. When Horace Britt
was 6, his mother began his training in solfège. He therefore
learned to sight read before he took up an instrument. Horace
studied cello, and his brother Roger Britt, the violin.
Horace Britt returned to Antwerp to study cello Gustav Faes to
prepare him for the Paris Conservatoire entrance examination
30. In November, 1892, at the age of 11, Horace
Britt won entrance to the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied
with Jules Delsart 1892-1895. Britt won the Conservatoire
cello Premier prix in 1895, at age 14, the youngest winner to that
time 30 (his record was broken the next year by 13 year
old Paul Bazelaire). Horace Britt was cello solo with the
Lamoureux Orchestra in 1897, and with the Colonne Orchestra in
1898. Britt made his American debut with the Chicago
Symphony (then the Theodore Thomas Orchestra) in 1907. At that
time, Britt was Principal cello of the Chicago Symphony 1905-1907.
Horace Britt's brother Roger was a first violin with the Philadelphia
Orchestra 1918-1924. After Chicago, Horace Britt became Principal
cello of the Philadelphia Orchestra for one season, 1907-1908.
In the 1910s, Britt became Principal cello of the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra. Horace Britt in the early 1920s was cello with the
Hans Letz Quartet:
Hans Letz first, Edwin Bachmann second (later of
Toscanini's NBC Symphony), Edward Kreiner, viola (also later of
Toscanini's NBC Symphony),
cello. In 1924-1925 season, Horace Britt became
Principal cello with the Minneapolis Symphony, under Henri Verbrugghen.
During the 1925-1926 season, Horace Britt taught at the Curtis
Institute in Philadelphia. Horace Britt in the late 1920s
performed with the Elman String Quartet: Mischa Elman first,
Adolf Bak second,
Karl Rissland viola,
cello. The Elman Quartet also recorded
for Victor records in 1927, and in the same year, was the first
cellist to be recorded on a sound movie. In the 1940s, Horace Britt
formed the Britt Trio. From 1947-1950, Britt was
visiting Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and then joined
the faculty. Britt continued at University of Texas 1950-1963,
when he retired as Professor Emeritus, Horace
Britt died in Austin, Texas on February 3, 1971, age 89.
Heinrich Warnke was born in Wesselburen (north of Hamburg), Germany
in 1870. At age 12, he entered the Hamburg
Conservatory where he studied cello with Albert Gowa (1843-after
In about 1887, he went to Leipzig where he played with the
Gewandhaus Orchestra. Prior to Boston, Heinrich Warnke was first
cello of the 'Kaim Orchestra' in Munich, predecessor to today's
Munich Philharmonic from 1897-1905. In the 1905-1906
season, after the resignation of Rudolph Krasselt, Warnke came to
Boston to become Principal cello at the Boston Symphony.
Heinrich Warnke's brother, Johannes Warnke, born in Germany
December 3, 1871 also joined the Boston Symphony,
remaining with the Orchestra at least until 1931.
Heinrich Warnke remained Principal cello of the Boston Symphony for
eight seasons. At the end of the 1913-1914 season, perhaps
due to the return of Karl Muck, Heinrich Warnke was replaced by
Joseph Malkin as Principal cello. Warnke, however, remained
with the Boston Symphony until the end of the 1917-1918 season.
From 1920 until the early 1930s, Heinrich Warnke was co-Principal
cello of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Heinrich
Warnke died in Germany during the summer of 1938.
The Roentgen Trio, circa 1913: Engelbert Roentgen, cello, the composer
Dr. Julius Röntgen, piano seated, and Julius Roentgen, violin
Engelbert Röntgen (I will use "Roentgen" hereafter) was born in
Netherlands on August 12, 1886, son of Dr. Julius Röntgen (1855-1932) and
Amanda Maier. Engelbert Roentgen studied cello with Isaac Mossel
(1870-1923) in Amsterdam, and with
Julius Klengel (1859-1933) in Leipzig. Engelbert's father, Dr. Julius
Röntgen, born in Germany, but long-time Dutch citizen, was a professor
of piano at the Amsterdam Conservatory, and active with the Concertgebouw
Orchestra. Julius Röntgen was also a prolific composer,
including of 25 symphonies ! From 1906-1911, Engelbert Roentgen
was Principal cello of the Tonhalle-Orchester of Zurich.
Then, 1912-1914, he was Principal cello of the Vienna Court Opera
Orchestra (Wiener Hofoper). In May, 1916, Engelbert Roentgen
went to New York, where he was Principal cello of the New York Symphony
for one season, 1916-1917 under Walter Damrosch. Engelbert's
brother, Julius Roentgen was already in the U.S. where he succeeded
Julius Theodorowicz as second violin with the
from 1907-1912. After the Kneisel Quartet, Julius Roentgen
returned to the Netherlands to teach at the Rotterdam Conservatory
In New York, Engelbert Roentgen also taught at
the Mannes School of Music. Roentgen then went
to the Minneapolis Symphony under Emil Oberhoffer in the 1917-1918
season, prior the the U.S. entrance into World War 1.
Roentgen served with the U.S. Army medical group in France in 1918 (although his
father Julius was still a German citizen). Engelbert Roentgen
became a U.S. citizen in in 1919. Following his return
from the war in 1919, Roentgen returned to the Minneapolis Symphony
in 1919. He also toured with the New York Symphony in their
Summer, 1920 European tour. Engelbert Roentgen remained as
Principal cello, and occasional conductor of the Minneapolis
Symphony until the end of the 1926-1927 season. While there,
in 1922, he performed his father's cello concerto under Henri
Verbrugghen 28. During his time in Minneapolis,
Roentgen was a close friend of conductor Henri Verbrugghen.
1909 Kneisel Quartet:
Franz Kneisel at left,
Willem Willeke cello, standing
Engelbert Roentgen then returned
to New York City, where he joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
as co-Principal in the 1928-1929 season in which year his father,
Julius had an extended stay with him in New York City.
Roentgen suffered a heart attack during the directorship of George
Szell, and had to relinquish the Principal cello chair of the MET
orchestra in the 1942-1943 season. Thereafter, Engelbert
Roentgen remained at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the second
chair until the end of the 1953-1954 season when he retired,
age 68. He was a member of the New York Chamber Music
Society. Following his retirement from the MET, Engelbert
Roentgen returned to Europe with his wife, Helena Helffrich, at
first in Lugano, Switzerland. Engelbert Roentgen then returned
to the Netherlands, where he died in 's-Hertogenbosch ('Den Bosch') - 50
km east of Rotterdam - in 1958 in the hospital of his nephew Dr.
Frithjof Röntgen 40.
Fritz Magg was born in Vienna April 18, 1914. He studied in Berlin
under Paul Grümmer (1879-1965) and at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris
under Diran Alexanian (1881-1954). In 1934, he became the Principal cello
of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. He emigrated to the U.S. in
1938, and became co-Principal cello of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
in 1939. Fritz Magg remained with the MET Orchestra for eight
season, leaving at the end of the the 1946-1947 season. Magg then
in 1948 joined Indiana University music department,
where Janos Starker also taught, and taught cello at IU for 36 years
until 1984. The Berkshire String Quartet, of which Magg was cellist
was quartet in residence at Indiana University, also. Magg was
Cello Professor and Chair of the String Department at IU. He
retired from Indiana University in 1984. Fritz Magg died in
July, 1997 at the age of 83, having a heart attack while adjudicating at
the Leonard Rose Cello Competition in Maryland.
János Starker at extreme right with Fritz Reiner conducting circa 1950
János Starker was born July 5, 1924 in Budapest, Hungary. He studied
at the Budapest Franz Liszt Academy of Music and joined the Budapest
Opera Orchestra and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. In
1948, after a year in Paris, he became Principal cello of the Dallas
Symphony selected by the Dallas conductor Antal Dorati. When Dorati
left Dallas at the end of the the 1948-1949 season for Minneapolis, he
invited Janos Starker to join him in Minneapolis, which Starker
accepted. However, Fritz Reiner at the MET invited Starker to
visit him, which ended up with Starker being hired as Principal
cello for the 1949-1950 season. Starker gave in his resignation
to the MET Orchestra for the end of the 1952-1953 season. However,
Fritz Reiner also left the Metropolitan for the Chicago Symphony
end of 1952-1953 and Reiner took Starker with him to became
Principal cello of the Chicago Symphony, beginning in 1953-1954.
Janos Starker remained with the Chicago Symphony until he resigned to
begin a new career as cello soloist in 1958.
Yves Chardon was born in Villier-sur-Marne, France just east of
Paris on December 27, 1902. Chardon began cello studies at
age six, and succeeded in the competition to attend the Paris
Conservatoire. Yves Chardon gained his Premier prix in
cello in 1918. Chardon then accepted a position in Greece.
Chardon taught at the Athens Conservatoire - Greece .
Yves Chardon then joined the Boston Symphony under
Koussevitzky in 1928, where he remained for fifteen seasons, 1928-1943.
In Boston, Yves Chardon founded the Chardon String Quartet:
Clarence Knudson second,
Jean Cauhapé viola,
Yves Chardon cello. Following Boston,
Yves Chardon relocated to Minnesota. While he was in Greece,
in the 1920s, Yves Chardon and his
wife Henriette de Constant met Dimitri Mitropoulos, which later
led Chardon's later appointment at Minneapolis Principal cello and
Henriette as Assistant Principal cello under Mitropoulos.
Yves Chardon was Principal cello and associate conductor of the
Minneapolis Symphony under Mitropoulos from 1946 until about 1950.
Continuing his conducting, Chardon was onductor of the
Havana Symphony in 1949, and then founded the
Orlando Symphony - later the Central Florida Symphony in about
1950-1951. Returning to New York City, Yves Chardon was
Alternate or Co-Principal cello of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra
for 24 seasons, 1952-1976. Yves Chardon died in New Hampshire
on March 6, 2000 after a rich and varied career at age 97.
Jascha Silberstein was born in Poland in 1934 and grew up in Switzerland.
His musician mother instructed him in piano from an early age.  Then, as a boy,
Silberstein heard a record by Gregor Piatigorsky, which impressed Silberstein
to the extent that he took up the cello. In Munich, Silberstein studied with
Rudolf Hindemith, brother of Paul Hindemith (1900-1974 - Hindemith was also known
by the stage name of Hans Lofer). Later, Silberstein studied with Czech
violinist Vasa Prihoda (1900-1960). Silberstein played cello in the
Nurnberg symphony and was Principal cello with the Munich Radio Orchestra.
Silberstein in 1962 moved to the U.S. to teach at the University of Texas.
He was appointed Principal cello of the Pittsburgh Symphony under William Steinberg
in about 1963-1964. Silberstein then moved to the cello section of
the Boston Symphony for two seasons under Erich
Leinsdorf 1964-1966. Then, in the 1966-1967 season,
Jascha Silberstein was appointed Principal cello of the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Silberstein remained Principal cello at the
MET for thirty seasons. After retirement, he and his wife
mezzo-soprano Diane Kesling moved to Hot Springs Arkansas, where Jascha
Silberstein died in 2008 after a full career.
Jerry Grossman was born Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 15, 1950.
Grossman studied at the Curtis Institute with David Soyer, where he
graduated in the Class of 1971. During several summers, Jerry
Grossman was active in the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont.
He was also active in the conductor-less chamber orchestra, the Orpheus
Ensemble in the 1990s. Grossman was then cellist for two
seasons 1974-1976 with the New York Philharmonic and 1984-1986
with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Following Chicago, Jerry
Grossman won the audition for the Principal cello position of the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where he has continued for more than
25 seasons. With Grossman, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra continues
its strong cello tradition dating back a century to Victor Herbert.
Rafael Figueroa was born in Puerto Rico on May 10 May, 1970. Figueroa
comes from a musical family: his brother, violinist Guillermo Figueroa
is Music Director of the New Mexico Symphony. His sister,
Ivonne Figueroa is a concert pianist. Rafael Figueroa
studied at Indiana University with Janos Starker and Gary Hoffman.
After graduation, Figueroa remained at Indiana University as a member of
the cello faculty. Rafael Figueroa was
active in chamber music with the Amadeus Piano Trio. During summers,
Figueroa has been active in music festivals, including the Casals Festival
in his native Puerto Rico, the Casals Hall Festival - Tokyo, Lemi Music
Festival - Finland, the Marlboro Festival - Vermont, the Aspen Music
Festival - Colorado, and the Marblehead Music Festival - Massachusetts.
A Note About Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Woodwinds and Brass
One of the advantages for
the Metropolitan Opera woodwinds and brass musicians was that
starting in about 1954, and during the remainder of the twentieth century, each
woodwind or brass chair had two musicians, each of
whom would play half of the performances. Such doubling was
necessary, since playing six or more performances each week,
comprising different operas would be too much for a bassoon or a
horn player to sustain, without burn-out or loss of performance quality.
For this reason, there
were Principal players and "alternate Principal" or
"Associate Principal" players, or sometimes
with the Principal having an edge in stature over the Associate
Principal, either through seniority, or by reputation. In
other cases, the two Principal players were considered as equals,
and as alternates. The woodwind and brass musician listings
below seek, where possible to
reflect the situation during each decade.
Quick Navigation: Click Below to Jump to Principal Musician Sections
Marc Lifschey said '...the oboe is the Queen of the woodwinds,
unrivaled by any other instrument of the section in its
authoritative tone.' 57
1900-1911(?) Adolph Bertram
Adolph Bertram was born in Germany in August, 1870. He came
to the U.S. in 1889. In Chicago, Adolph Bertram was second
oboe of the Chicago Symphony (at that time the "Chicago Orchestra")
, under Theodore Thomas 1893-1896. By 1900, Adolph Bertram was
Principal oboe in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where he remained
at least until 1910. For the 1911-1912 initial San Francisco
Symphony season, Henry Hadley brought Adolph Bertram with him as
Principal oboe. Bertram remained Principal oboe for three
seasons 1911-1914. Adolph Bertram also was Principal oboe in
the orchestra of the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition
in San Francisco. In 1919-1922 Adolph Bertram moved
to St. Louis, where he was Principal oboe and sometimes
English horn in the St. Louis Symphony under Max Zach and
Rudolf Ganz 37. Adolph
Bertram seems to have died young, prior to 1930.
Giacomo Del Campo was born in Parma, Italy on July 24, 1884 . Del Campo
studied at the Parma Conservatory, where he graduated in 1899
37. He came to
the U.S. in 1908, where he was Principal oboe of the Chicago Grand Opera
Company under Cleofonte Campanini (1860-1919), a conductor also from
Parma. Giacomo Del Campo then came to the Metropolitan Opera in 1914,
under Toscanini. Del Campo became a U.S. citizen in 1923.
Del Campo seems to have died later than 1942, at which time he was
living in retirement in Connecticut.
Bert Gassman was born in New York City on May 29, 1911. As a child,
Bert Gassman began with violin lessons, but changed to oboe at about age
thirteen. At age 16, Gassman won a scholarship to the Damrosch School
of Music, which was later absorbed into the Juilliard School. Bert
Gassman joined the Cleveland Orchestra oboe section at age 19 in the
1930-1931 season. Gassman was primarily English horn solo for
fourteen seasons in Cleveland, 1930-1944. Bert Gassman then went to
New York to join the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. While at the
Metropolitan, according to Laila Storch's excellent biography of
Marcel Tabuteau (How Do You Expect to Play the Oboe If You Can't
Peel a Mushroom?106), Bert Gassman met Marcel Tabuteau
in New York, and although a seasoned professional, Gassman began
taking the early train to Philadelphia to study with Tabuteau. In
1938, Bert Gassman became Principal oboe of the Orquestra Sinfonica de
Mexico under Carlos Chavez, where he remained for 7 seasons.
Gassman played English horn in the famous 1946 Stravinsky recording
of his Pastorale for Violin, Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet and
Bassoon with Joseph Szigeti, violin, Mitch Miller, oboe, Robert
McGinnis, clarinet, and Sol Schoenbach, bassoon in New York.
Then, George Szell, taking up the Music Direction in Cleveland, and
who had conducted Bert Gassman many times, hired him back to the
Cleveland Orchestra as Principal oboe in Szell's second and third
seasons, 1947-1949. Bert Gassman then left for the Los Angeles
Philharmonic, where he was Principal oboe for twenty-five seasons,
1949-1974. Bert Gassman died in Orange County, California on
November 14, 2004, age 93.
Josef Marx was born in
Berlin in 1913, and moved with his family to Cincinnati in 1927.
He studied oboe at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. In
1935, Marx left the U. S. to become Principal oboe of Palestine
Orchestra, newly formed by the famous violinist, Bronislaw Huberman.
He also taught oboe at the Jerusalem Conservatoire. The
Lerners 13 tell an amusing story about how Marx came to
study with the famous conductor and oboist Leon Goossens.
"...Some members of the Tel Aviv Symphony got together to play a
trick on Josef: they sent him a fake letter supposedly written by
Goossens, inviting Josef to come to London on scholarship to study
with this great master!...In the summer of 1936, therefore...Josef
borrowed against his orchestra salary for the 1936-37 season and set
sail for London. Arriving on Goossens' doorstep totally broke, he
was taken in by the great master and taught free of charge first at
the Royal College of Music and then privately." In 1946, he
founded the publishing house of McGinnis and Marx. Marx died
William Criss was born in Philadelphia on December 3, 1921. Beginning
in 1942 at age 20, Criss studied with Marcel Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute
in Philadelphia 23. After discharge from the Army
Air Force following World War 2, Criss joined the Baltimore Symphony
in 1946, until the end of the 1947-1948 season. William Criss
then relocated to New York City, where he became a session musician,
played for ballet and also played in the orchestra of radio station
WOR. Then in 1949, William Criss joined the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra. He was either Principal
oboe with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra from the
1949-1950 season for ten seasons until the end of 1958-1959.
During the summers in the 1950s, Criss played with the orchestra of
the Bell Telephone Radio Hour. In 1959, William Criss
relocated to California, where he was a Hollywood musician at
several major studios. Among the movies he performed
in were The Godfather, Sophie's
Choice, and On Golden Pond.
Criss also taught oboe at the University of Southern
California. During this period, William Criss played
with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He continued these
Hollywood activities and teaching up until his death in 1984.
Criss died on December 12, 1984 at the relatively young
age of 63 from cancer.
Marc Lifschey was born June 16, 1926 in New York City. His
father, Elias Lifschey was also a violist who played with the NBC
Symphony under Toscanini. Marc Lifschey studied with Ferdinand
Gillet, Bert Brenner, and with Marcel Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute
in Philadelphia 100. He was briefly in the oboe section of the
Buffalo Symphony Orchestra. Marc Lifschey was first oboe in the National
Symphony Orchestra in Washington 1948-1950. He then went to the Cleveland
Orchestra as Principal in 1950. Lifschey remained in Cleveland until the
end of the 1964-1965 season, except for one year. The exception was the
1959-1960 season, when he was Principal oboe with the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra 100. Contemporaries said that George
Szell dismissed Marc Lifschey to free him to appoint John Mack as
Principal oboe following the 1964-1965 Cleveland season. After
leaving Cleveland, in 1965, Marc Lifschey joined the San Francisco
Symphony Orchestra under Music Director Josef Krips. Lifschey was
initially co-Principal oboe of the SFSO with Jean-Louis LeRoux, from
about 1965-1970 100. Lifschey was subsequently named
Principal oboe, and served with the San Francisco Symphony for a total
of twenty-one seasons, from 1965-1986. 1984, William Hewlett
(cofounder of Hewlett-Packard) endowed the Edo de Waart chair of Principal
oboe and Lifschey occupied the chair until he retired in 1986.
From 1993-1998, Marc Lifschey taught at Indiana University, until
retiring to Oregon. In the orchestra and teaching, Marc Lifschey
had the reputation for being both kind and generous, different from the
teaching style often adopted by teachers with a European conservatory
training. Marc Lifschey died at age 74 on November 8, 2000 in
Portland, Oregon from complications resulting from diabetes.
William Arrowsmith born in New York January, 1921. He was a long-time
Principal oboe with the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra, serving 1947-1986. in the latter part of his
career, Arrowsmith was Co-Principal with Alfred Genovese. In the 1970s, Arrowsmith
performed with the The New York Kammermusiker of woodwinds. Arrowsmith
died in New York City June 5, 2006.
Alfred Genovese was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 25, 1931. His
father was also a musician. At age 16, Genovese began study with John Minsker
who had previously been English horn with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Admitted
to the Curtis Institute, Alfred Genovese was one of the last oboe students of Marcel
Tabuteau. Upon graduation from Curtis in the Class of 1953,
Genovese became an oboe with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for three seasons
1953-1956. Alfred Genovese then went to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra where
he was Principal oboe under Vladimir Golschmann and Edouard van Remoortel 1956-1959.
In the 1959-1960 season, Genovese went to the Cleveland Orchestra as Principal
oboe briefly for one season under George Szell. This was the single season in which
Marc Lifschey was away from Cleveland during his long Cleveland tenure 1950-1959 and
1960-1965. In this 1959-1960 season, Lifschey was Principal oboe of the Metropolitan
Opera. Upon his return to Cleveland, Alfred Genovese replaced him as Principal
oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the 1960-1961 season. Alfred Genovese
remained at the Metropolitan Opera for 17 seasons 1960-1977. In the 1977-1978
season, with the departure of Jack Holmes from Boston, Alfred Genovese left the Metropolitan
Opera to take the third oboe chair (Associate Principal oboe) of the Boston Symphony
Orchestra. Wayne Rapier moved up to the second chair (Assistant Principal) of
the Boston Symphony oboes. Upon the retirement of Ralph Gomberg
at the end of the 1986-1987 season, Alfred Genovese took the first chair oboe position.
In the Boston Symphony programs for the 1987-1990 seasons, Alfred Genovese was listed as
"Acting Principal oboe" He was then confirmed in the first chair position and is
now deservedly listed as Principal oboe 1987-1998. Alfred Genovese was a regular at
the Marlboro Music Festival in the summers from at least 1955 into the 1980s. He was
also a New York freelance session musician in the early 1970s at the time he was with the
Metropolitan Opera. He he has taught oboe at the New England Conservatory of Music,
and the Manhattan School of Music. Alfred Genovese retired from the Boston Symphony
at the end of the 1997-1998 season.
John Ferrillo was born in Massachusetts in 1955. He was
raised in Bedford, Massachusetts in a musical family. Ferrillo's
mother was a music teacher with a Masters degree in
music education. As a youth, Ferrillo played oboe in the
Greater Boston Youth Symphony. John Ferrillo then followed
the footsteps of two great Boston Symphony oboe predecessors,
and Genovese's predecessor,
, entering the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Ferrillo studied for 5 years at the Curtis with
John de Lancie
of the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he received his Artist’s
Diploma and Artist’s Certificate in the Class of 1977.
Ralph Gomberg, Alfred Genovese and John de Lancie were all
pupils of the legendary oboist and teacher
at the Curtis Institute. Ferrillo studied at the Blossom Music
Festival with John Mack. He also participated at the Marlboro Music
Festival. Upon graduation from Curtis in 1977, John Ferrillo
freelanced for a year. In 1977, he also played Principal oboe
with the suburban Washington D.C. Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. For
six years during the late 1970s and early 1980s, John Ferrillo taught
at the University of West Virginia. He was constantly working
towards a major symphony orchestra position during these years.
In interviews, John Ferrillo has pointed out the challenges for a
beginning musician to build a career. He said that he
"blew off" nine years and 21 auditions, prior to landing
his first position as assistant Principal oboe of the San Francisco
Symphony 54. Ferrillo in May, 1985 won the competition
to become second oboe of the San Francisco Symphony to begin in the
1985-1986 season, under Herbert Blomstedt. Then, only months
later, in September, 1985, Ferrillo won the Principal oboe audition
for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Ferrillo joined the MET
for the 1986-1987 season, and remained as Principal Oboe for fifteen
seasons, 1986 to 2001. At the same time as his tenure at the
Metropolitan Opera, Ferrillo taught oboe at the Juilliard School.
Then, in 2001, Ferrillo succeeded Alfred Genovese, Principal oboe
of the Boston Symphony who had retired at the end of the 1997-1998
season. Ferrillo also began to teach at Boston University
and the New England Conservatory. John Ferrillo is admired
for his singing tone and phrasing, which some speculate may have
been reinforced during his years at the Metropolitan Opera.
John Ferrillo's colleagues observe that his way of shaping and
phrasing a line of music, and his intensity bring alive the teaching
of Ferrillo's great mentor John de Lancie. Who could wish
for higher praise?
Eugene Izotov was born in Moscow, Russia in 1973. He began oboe
study early at 6 years old at the Gnesin Academy of Music
in Moscow. In 1991, Izotov was a laureate in the
Russian Wind Players Competition. In about 1994, Izotof began
studies at Boston University with
(1921-2006) of the Boston Symphony. Izotov also studied
at Tanglewood in the summer of 1995.
Izotof was Principal oboe of the Kansas City Symphony in the
1995-1996 season. In the next year, he was appointed
Associate Principal oboe of the
San Francisco Orchestra 1996-2001. In 1999, Eugene Izotof
won second place in the Fernand Gillet-Hugo Fox Oboe Competition
In the 2002-2003 season, Izotof became co-Principal oboe of the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where he stayed for three seasons.
In 2005, Daniel Barenboim appointed Izotof as Principal oboe of the
Chicago Symphony for the 2006-2007 season. Active in teaching,
while at San Francisco, Izotof taught oboe at the San Francisco
Conservatory. During his MET tenure, he taught at Juilliard.
No doubt in Chicago, he will continue his teaching and bringing his
singing tone to the orchestra.
Elaine Douvas was born in Port Huron, suburban Detroit, Michigan
in March, 1952. As a child, she studied piano, violin, and
horn, before concentrating on oboe in the Sixth Grade.
In 1960-1962, Douvas was a student in the summers at
the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. After High School,
Elaine Douvas entered the Cleveland Institute of Music in
1970 where she remained for three years. There, her
principal oboe study was with
of the Cleveland Orchestra. Elaine Douvas at the young age
of 21 was appointed Principal oboe of the Atlanta Symphony
under Robert Shaw, where she served for four seasons, 1973-1977.
Elaine Douvas won the audition to became Principal Oboe
of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the 1977-1978 season.
After more than three decades at the MET, she remains a leader
of her section. Elaine Douvas met her husband,
Robert Sirinek at the MET, where he played trumpet.
Robert Sirinek is now the manager of the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra. Elaine Douvas has performed many times as soloist
with both the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and other, including a
performance of Dutilleux’s Les Citations with the
MET Chamber Ensemble. Active in teaching, Elaine Douvas is also
Chairman of the woodwind department at the Juilliard School where
she has been teaching since 1997.
Athletic, she also enjoys figure skating 52.
Perhaps this is another example that physical fitness
often goes with sustained great music making.
Nathan Hughes was born near Saint Paul, Minnesota
in December, 1976. As a youth, he studied with
Michael Aamoth. At the high school level, he
studied at the Harid Conservatory (Boca Raton, Florida)
with John Dee, Principal oboe of the Florida Philharmonic
Orchestra. Hughes also studied summers at the
Aspen Music Festival during these years.
Nathan Hughes studied the Cleveland Institute of Music with
, where he
earned his Bachelor of Music degree. Hughes later
studied at the Juilliard with
his Masters degree.
Hughes was Principal oboe with the Savannah Symphony Orchestra.
Hughes trained both at Tanglewood and at the Marlboro Music
Festivals. He has been active in music festivals, including
the Aspen Festival - Colorado, Bridgehampton Music Festival -
New York, Lucerne Music Festival - Switzerland, Mainly Mozart
Festival - New York, Salzburg Music Festival - Austria, Santa Fe
Music Festival - New Mexico, Sarasota Music Festival - Florida,
and the Spoleto Music Festival - South Carolina. In 2006,
Nathan Hughes joined the oboe faculty at the Juilliard School.
Nathan Hughes joined the Seattle Symphony as Principal oboe in
December, 2002. Prior to Seattle, Hughes was associate
Principal oboe of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
in the 2006-2007 season, Nathan Hughes joined his teacher Elaine
Douvas as a Principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
As such, he continues the tradition of greatness of the
Metropolitan oboe section.
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Hugo Burghauser was born in Vienna February 27, 1896 of a German father
and Italian mother. Burghauser
was former Principal bassoon with the Vienna State Opera/Vienna
Philharmonic, but, although not Jewish, was dismissed
for political reasons. Burghauser said that he chose
the bassoon so as to gain a scholarship at the
Vienna Conservatory. His teacher in Vienna was Hans Boehm. Following
World War 1, where Burghauser served in a regimental band, he auditioned for
the Vienna State Opera, at that time directed by Richard Strauss. Burghauser
was at the Vienna State Opera for 17 seasons. He said that the repertoire
would typically include some sixty different operas during a 10-month season.
Therefore, extensive rehearsal of all these works was not feasible, and the
musicians had to learn them separately. He said "...One acquired fast and
accurate sight reading ability..." 55 In 1932,
in the world-wide economic depression, Hugo Burghauser was designated
as administrator of the Vienna State Opera/Vienna Philharmonic. In the
Wiener Staatsoper tradition, Burghauser was, apparently, a musical
politician, making a number of enemies 56. In the 1930s, Vienna
switched to a system of guest conductors, including Bruno Walter and Arturo
Toscanini. At was at this time that Burghauser got to know
Toscanini. Burghauser (with an Italian mother) at the Salzburg
Festival became an
intermediary between the Festival and Arturo Toscanini.
In 1938, Germany invaded Austria, and although not Jewish,
Burghauser was politically unwelcome. He left Austria with virtually
no money and made his way with difficulty to Paris. He heard that
Toronto was looking for a bassoon, and made this his objective.
Aided by Signora Carla Toscanini (Toscanini's wife), he left Paris for
New York, and then Toronto arriving late in 1938.
Burghauser stayed with the Toronto Symphony for three seasons.
In 1942, Burghauser became second bassoon and contrabassoon with the
Metropolitan Opera, when Stephen Maxym and other bassoons were inducted into
the U.S. Army. Burghauser became a U.S. citizen
in 1946. Burghauser remained with the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra 1942-1965. After retiring, Burghauser continued to
teach in New York City, where he died on December 9, 1982.
Stephen Maxym was born in New York City July 17, 1915. Maxym tells
his experience as a Stuyvasant High School student, meeting Sol Schoenbach
who lent him reeds, and give some suggestions about bassoon
embouchure. At Stuyvesant, Maxym auditioned for a New York Philharmonic
scholarship to study with their musicians. In 1931, Maxym auditioned with
Simon Kovar, Philharmonic Principal bassoon, and since there were only four
candidates for six scholarships, he said, Maxym won 38.
After study with Simon Kovar, Stephen Maxym gained a scholarship to the
at the Institute of Musical Arts (Juilliard) in 1933. After three
years at the Institute, he was offered a position the Pittsburgh Symphony
Orchestra under Fritz Reiner as Principal bassoon starting with 1937-1938
season. It was too good for Maxym to turn down, and he needed the
money, so he dropped out of Juilliard 38.  Maxym says
that in 1939, at the beginning of his third season
at Pittsburgh, he became fed up with the treatment from Fritz Reiner, and
quit. Maxym auditioned with Erich Leinsdorf to join the Metropolitan
Opera and fortunately was hired in January, 1940, mid-season of 1939-1940, following
the sudden death of his predecessor. Maxym said that otherwise, no one
would believe he had quit Pittsburgh, but rather that Reiner had fired
him. . In 1942, Maxym entered the U.S. Army as a radio operator.
In the 1946-1947 season, after considering auditioning for the Chicago
Symphony, Maxym was re-hired as the Metropolitan Opera's
Principal oboe for the 1946-1947 season. When Fritz Reiner
came to the MET as a conductor, he had not forgotten that Maxym
had resigned in Pittsburgh, and tried to make performance
difficult for him. Maxym confronted Reiner, and as Reiner was
sometimes to do with others, Reiner thereafter respected
Maxym and treated him well. Maxym played under all the great
conductors of the Metropolitan Opera, an resigned at the
end of the 1975-1976 season, early in the regime of James Levine
During his tenure at the MET, Maxym taught at Juilliard (1950-1995
and at the Manhattan School of Music. In 1995,
Maxym moved to Orange County, California and began teaching
at the University of Southern California, until his death
in 2002. Stephen Maxym died
in Laguna Hills, California on October 12, 2002.
David Manchester was born in New York City on July 9, 1920. He was
Principal bassoon in Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
in the 1940s 1950s for over thirty years. The singer and song
writer Melissa Manchester, born February 15, 1952, was his daughter, with whom he
frequently performed. David Manchester died in Los Angeles on
January 2, 1993.
Charles McCracken was born in Pennsylvania in 1957.
McCracken began oboe study
as a teenager, and in college. McCracken was Principal
bassoon of the New Jersey Symphony, and also played bassoon with
the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He joined the American Symphony
Orchestra in 1978, and became Principal oboe of the Orchestra in
1988, a post he still fulfills. Charles McCracken
is also Principal bassoon of the New York Pops
orchestra. McCracken was a founding member, and longtime musician
with the Sylvan Winds, a wind quintet started in 1979.
Charles McCracken has been for the last several decades one of the
most active of New York free-lance musicians. He is also
active in music festivals and groups, including the North Country Chamber
Players - New Hampshire, Cape and Islands Festival - Massachusetts,
Cape May Festival - New Jersey, and the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival
December, 1976-present Patricia Rogers Principal bassoon
Patricia 'Trish' Rogers was born in Kentucky. At the Cincinnati College
Conservatory of Music, Rogers studied bassoon with Otto Eifert, long-time
Principal bassoon of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, receiving her BMus.
She was appointed Co-Principal bassoon of the Metropolitan Opera in December,
1976. As a chamber musician, she has appeared regularly with
James Levine and the MET Chamber Ensemble. Rogers was active in
the Marlboro Music Festival from 1981 to 1983, where she also studied with
the legendary Marcel Moyse (1889-1984). Rogers has taught at Juilliard and
the Manhattan School of Music. Since 1993 Patricia Rogers has taught at the
Mannes College of Music in New York City. Trish Rogers is married to
, whom she met after joining the orchestra.
Whitney Crockett was born in Tampa, Florida in October, 1962. He
began his bassoon studies in Miami with Michael Finn and
Luciano Magnanini. He then entered the
Juilliard School, studying bassoon with with Stephen Maxym.
In Florida, Crockett was Principal bassoon with the South Florida
Youth Symphony in Miami, and the Florida Orchestra
in Tampa in 1989. He also was Principal bassoon
with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in the the Dominican Republic.
Crockett was Principal bassoon with the Montreal Symphony 1990-1998.
Crockett was appointed co-Principal bassoon of the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra, with Patricia Rogers, in the 1998-1999 season. While
Crockett was in Montreal, he also taught bassoon at McGill
University. More recently, Crockett has taught at
Juilliard since 2001 and at the Manhattan School of Music.
Whitney Crockett in Los Angeles
In April, 2010, Whitney Crockett won the competition to become
Principal bassoon of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he has been
one of the Philharmonic's admired soloists.
William Short studied bassoon at the Curtis Institute, BMus Class of
2010. He then did graduate work at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice
University, MMus. William Short was Principal bassoon with the
Delaware Symphony prior to his appointment with the Metropolitan
Opera orchestra beginning in the 2013-2014 season.
He has also been active in music festivals, including the
Mostly Mozart Festival - New York City, the Spoleto Festival - South Carolina,
the Pacific Music Festival - Japan, and the Verbier Festival - Switzerland.
Quick Navigation: Click Below to Jump to Principal Musician Sections
Antonio Bellucci was born in Pisa, Italy on February 5, 1857.
Bellucci came to the United States in August, 1883 to join the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as Principal
clarinet in its opening season 70. The New York Times
in 1915 said: '...He played on the opening night of the Opera House
when Mme. Patti was the star. Antonio Bellucci was Principal clarinet
of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 31 seasons, from the opening in
1883, until illness caused him to retire at the end of the 1913-1914
season 70. During this time, he also toured with
Metropolitan Opera stars, such as Alma Gluck in 1912.
Antonio Bellucci is particularly remembered today, in part, because
he played the clarinet with the reed on top 66. Antonio
Bellucci died in New York City on May 24, 1916 after an extended
illness. Antonio Bellucci's son Giovanni Bellucci was also with
the Metropolitan Opera, and his brother, Emilio was a music teacher.
Alberto Chiaffarelli was
born in Prata Sannita, Italy, 75 km north of Naples on February 5,
1884. He emigrated to the U.S. as an infant in 1884, with his
father, Charles (born June, 1839) who was also a clarinet player.
This was a musical family, and Alberto's brothers Frank (born April, 1871),
and Angelo (born January, 1875) were also trained as clarinetists.
In 1903-1910, Chiaffarelli played in Victor Herbert's traveling orchestra,
and in several bands 127.
In 1904, Chiaffarelli joined the Sousa band. Then, for nine seasons,
1910-1919, Chiaffarelli played clarinet in the New York Philharmonic
66. The next season, in 1919-1920, Alberto Chiaffarelli
became co-Principal clarinet in the Metropolitan Opera, remaining for two
seasons. Chiaffarelli then took the same position with the Chicago
Opera Orchestra. In 1924, like a number of other musicians, he worked
in the orchestra of a theater, in this case, the Theater of Marcus Klaw
(1858-1936) in New York City. Unusual was that Alberto Chiaffarelli
played on an Albert-system clarinet 66 more associated with ethnic
music (turkish, Klezmer, etc.) than with a symphony orchestra. Alberto
Chiaffarelli died in New York City in 1945.
Michele Fusco was born In Cardito, just north of Naples, Italy in 1878.
He came to the U.S. in 1905. Michele Fusco became co-Principal clarinet of the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 1919, where he remained as Principal for 21
seasons. Could Michele Fusco be related to the famous musician
and scholar Michele Fusco active at the Naples Conservatory in about
Ettore Bendazzi was born in Novi Ligure, Italy, north of Genoa November
16, 1881. At age 14, Bendazzi began clarinet study with Domenico
Mari at the Liceo Musicale in Turino, where he graduated in 1900.
He was later a bandsman, and also taught clarinet at the Liceo Musicale.
In 1922, Bendazzi emigrated to the U.S. to join the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra. Bendazzi was Assistant Principal clarinet at the
MET for 36 seasons.
Attilio Poto (right) with the Boston Symphony. At left is John
Holmes BSO Principal oboe 1947-1950 and in center,
Manuel Valerio clarinet 1933-1955 and Principal clarinet of the
Attilio Poto was born in Boston in August 14, 1914, but moved
with his family to Italy shortly thereafter. He and his family
then returned to Boston when Attillio was 9. Attilio Poto
played clarinet in Boston's Youth
Orchestra, conducted by Koussevitzky's nephew, Fabian Sevitzky.
In 1929, Poto went to New York City to play in the National
Orchestral Association, a training orchestra, and to study
conducting with Leon Barzin, the orchestra's conductor. In
1939-1940, Poto was Principal clarinet with the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra for the German repertory. Poto returned to Boston
still pursuing his conducting ambitions. Poto in 1940 he
conducted the Massachusetts State Symphony. During WW2,
1942-1946, Attillio Poto joined the Air Force as a band member. In
the summer of 1946, Poto studied conducting at the Tanglewood Music
Center. 1949-1950, Attillio Poto was second clarinet in the
Boston Symphony under Serge Koussevitzky and Charles Munch.
Poto remained in Boston and from 1950-1992 he taught
clarinet and conducting at the Boston Conservatory.
Attillio Poto died in Boston on July 24, 2003 at the
age of 88.
Gino Cioffi was born in Naples, Italy in 1913 of a musical family.
Cioffi studied clarinet at the Naples Conservatory with Piccione and
Carpio. Cioffi graduated from the Conservatory in 1930.
(note: was Gino Gioffi related to
" Principal violin of the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra two generations previously?) Gino Cioffi arrived in the U.S.
in 1937, playing first with the orchestra of the New York Radio City
Music Hall. Cioffi then played with the Pittsburgh Symphony
until the end of the 1941-1942 season. Cioffi then went to the Cleveland
Orchestra as Principal clarinet for two seasons 1942-1944. Over the next
six seasons, Gino Cioffi was at the Metropolitan Opera, and briefly for
the New York Philharmonic. Then, Gino Cioffi became Principal clarinet
of the Boston Symphony in the 1950-1951 season under Charles Munch.
Gino Cioffi was always a colorful personality. It is said that
during his audition with Charles Munch in 1950, he played beautifully
the clarinet excerpt from Daphnis et Chloé.
The story is that Cioffi than said "Pretty good, pretty good,
huh? D'ya wanta to hear something else?" According to
the story, Munch immediately hired Cioffi, saying "Anyone with
that much confidence we have to have in the orchestra.".
Cioffi typically played on an adapted Selmer clarinet 59
with a Crystal mouthpiece. An irreverent story told more than once
about Cioffi is that he would frequently say "...When I'ma play
good, its a justa like Jesus Christ. When I'ma play bad, its
still better than anybody else !"59 Gino Cioffi
remained Boston Symphony Principal clarinet for 21 seasons, retiring
(or in fact, being asked to retire) at the end of the 1969-1970 season.
He may have been retired both because of being at retirement age,
and due to cardiac problems (he had gained considerable weight in
A story told by Gino Cioffi student and clarinet scholar
Sherman Friedland 59 shows Gino Cioffi in his later years
still to be a distinctive personality. Cioffi just after his
dismissal was walking with BSO Bass clarinet Felix 'Phil' Viscuglia,
and every few steps, Cioffi would "...stop and say to Phil,
'hey what I did?, What I did?'..." Gino Cioffi lived
in suburban Boston until after 2001.
David Weber was born in Vilna, Lithuania, in 1913. Webber came
the United States with his family in 1921, settling in Detroit, Michigan.
He began studying clarinet at age 11. As a teen, he studied with two
Principal clarinets of the Detroit Symphony, Roy Schmidt and Alberto Luconi.
To further his development, David Webber went to New York City in the 1930s.
There he studied with Simeon Bellison, then Principal clarinet of the New York
Philharmonic, and also with Daniel Bonade, at that time Principal clarinetist of
the Columbia Broadcasting System radio orchestra. In 1938, David Weber was
hired by Arthur Rodzinski to join the clarinet section of the NBC Symphony
Orchestra, where he stayed two seasons. In 1940, David Weber was appointed
Principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, alternating with Luigi
Cancellieri. Weber was at the MET for three seasons.  David Weber was
then appointed assistant
Principal clarinet in the New York Philharmonic 1943-1944. He was Principal
clarinet of the New York City Ballet Orchestra 1960-1986. After leaving the
New York City Ballet, Weber taught at both Columbia University and at the Juilliard
School. David Weber had the reputation of being strict, but supportive
with his students, and inflexible in his relations with colleagues, and even
with conductors 67. David Weber died in New York City
on January 23, 2006.
Luigi (or sometimes Louis) Cancellieri was born in Rome in June 21,
1895. Cancellieri studied with Aurelio Magnani at the St.
Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. In the early 1920s, after its
re-opening, Cancellieri was Principal clarinet at La Scala Milan
under Toscanini until the end of the 1923-1924 season. Luigi
Cancellieri then emigrated to the U.S. in the summer of 1924, and
became a citizen. He became Principal clarinet of the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra. Cancellieri was said by Gunther Schuller and other colleagues to have
a rich, full clarinet sound, immediately identifiable. Luigi
Cancellieri lived for years above Carnegie Hall, a convenient location.
Cancellieri used a crystal or glass mouthpiece on his clarinet, just
as Gino Cioffi and Robert Marcellus were said to have done, at least in part.
Luigi Cancellieri died in 1959.
Musicians of the New York Philomusica Chamber Ensemble, Joseph Rabbai, center
Joseph Rabbai was born in New York on August 23, 1938. He
studied at Temple University in Philadelphia and at the Juilliard
School. After Juilliard, Joseph Rabbai went on to a career
as Principal clarinet in a series of leading orchestras:
the American Symphony Orchestra - New York under Leopold Stokowski,
the Israel Philharmonic and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He also
played clarinet in the New York City Opera Orchestra.
Joseph Rabbai was appointed Principal clarinet of the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 1980. For two decades beginning in
1971, Joseph Rabbai was Principal clarinet with The Mostly Mozart
Festival summers in New York City. Also in summers, he
has been active in festivals, including the Caramoor Festival north of
New York City. As a teacher, Joseph
Rabbai has been active at Queens College, Brooklyn College, Graduate
School of the City University of New York, the State University of
New York - Purchase and the New Jersey City University. While in
New York City in his various permanent appointments, he also was a
regular musician at New York recording sessions. Among contemporary
composers recorded by Rabbai are works by Ned Rorem and Olivier Messiaen.
He has also been active in chamber music throughout his career.
Joseph Rabbai was a long time clarinet with the New York Philomusica
Ensemble. After a full career as Principal clarinet in many
leading orchestras and chamber groups, Joseph Rabbai retired from the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 2003 and
was succeeded by Stephen Williamson.
Ricardo Morales was born in Puerto Rico in 1972. He studied, along with his five
siblings at the Escuela Libre de Musica. He then studied at the Cincinnati
Conservatory of Music and later at Indiana University. Ricardo Morales orchestral
career began as Principal clarinet of the Florida Symphony. He was Principal
clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra from 1993-2003. Wolfgang Sawallisch
selected Morales to be Philadelphia Orchestra Principal clarinet in 2002. This
was Sawallisch's last appointment of a new musician to the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Ricardo Morales teaches at both the Juilliard School and at Temple University in
Philadelphia. In April, 2011, the New York Philharmonic announced that
Ricardo Morales would take up the Principal clarinet position in
New York beginning in September 2012, following his final Philadelphia
commitments in the summer of 2012. However, upon reflection, in
March 2012, Ricardo Morales let it be known that he had decided
against accepting the New York Philharmonic offer. Of course,
all Philadelphia Orchestra fans are thrilled by this resolution,
and the Philadelphia Orchestra woodwind section continues its
rich history of excellence.
December, 2003-August 2011
Stephen R. Williamson - Principal
Stephen Williamson was born on December 8, 1969.
He studied at the Eastman School of Music, where
he earned his Performer’s Certificate and BMus. Then, at
the Juilliard School, he went on to his MMus. Stephen
Williamson was also a Fulbright scholar, studying at the
Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. He became Principal
clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in December,
2003-2004. Seiji Ozawa also appointed Stephen Williamson
Principal clarinet of the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra.
Stephen Williamson also teaches at Columbia University and at
the Mannes College of Music in New York City. Williamson
also has been active in the MET Chamber Ensemble, making great
music with James Levine. By the summer of 2011, there were
numerous reports that Chicago had offered the Principal clarinet
position to Stephen Williamson. In August, 2011, the Chicago
Symphony confirmed that Stephen Williamson had accepted appointment
as Principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony. Stephen
Williamson joined the Chicago Symphony under Riccardo Muti on
their European Tour, August 22 to September 7, 2011. The
Principal clarinet chair of the Chicago Symphony had been open
for three seasons. Williamson's appointment was well received
by both the Chicago public and Stephen Williamson's colleagues.
However, in February 2013, the Chicago Symphony and the
New York Philharmonic announced that Stephen Williamson
would become Principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic
effective July, 2013.
The Philharmonic had been without a Principal clarinet for 4
seasons. At one time it had been announced that
would join the New York Philharmonic, but Morales decided to remain
as Philadelphia Principal clarinet.
Anthony McGill grew up in Chicago. He studied with Principal clarinet
of the Chicago Symphony Larry Combs. He also studied at the
Interlochen Arts Academy - Michigan. McGill gained admission to
the Curtis Institute where he graduated Class of 2000. His is a musical
family, and his older brother Demarre studied flute at Curtis
Class of 1996. Demarre McGill was San Diego Symphony Principal
flute before assuming the same position with the Seattle Symphony.
From 2000-2004, Anthony McGill was
Associate Principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
He then won the competition for the Principal clarinet chair with the
Metropolitan Opera orchestra for the 2004-2005 season.
photo by David Finlayson
McGill has been active in music festivals, including the Marlboro Music
Festival - Vermont, and the Pacific Music Festival - Japan.
On January 20, 2009, performed with Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma and
Gabriela Montero Air and Simple Gifts composed by John Williams
for at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Boris Allakhverdyan was born in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1984. His family is
of Armenian descent, and is a musical family. Boris Allakhverdyan
studied first with his father who was Principal clarinet of Baku Opera Orchestra
in Azerbaijan 131. He then moved to Russia when he gained admission
to the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory where he earned his BMus in 2006.
Boris Allakhverdyan then relocated to the USA, studying at the
Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College - Ohio, gaining his Artist Diploma
in 2008. He then studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music gaining
his MMus in 2010. Boris Allakhverdyan had been Associate Principal
clarinet of the Kansas City Symphony for three seasons,
August 2009-August 2012. He is also active in
music festivals, including the Colorado Music Festival and the
Britt Festival Orchestra - Oregon performing as Principal clarinet
in both, as well as the Lucerne Festival Academy - Switzerland under
the direction of Pierre Boulez and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival
Principal Flutes of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
John Wion in his superb flute site documents that the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra had only one 'Principal' flute until
the 1956-1957 season 44 when James Politis, previously Assistant
Principal was elevated to the new position of 'Associate
Principal'. Beginning in the 1944-1945 season Hendrick de Vries
was given the new position of 'Assistant Principal', and James Politis
received the same title when he replaced Hendrick de Vries in the
As with the
Concertmasters, the program for the opening season of the
Metropolitan Opera in 1884 simply lists the family names of the
musicians; 'Signor Roberti' and 'Signor Calvera' for the
Key information for this
flutes section comes from the excellent listing in the superb John
Wion website http://homepage.mac.com/johnwion/orchestra.html,
supplemented by information from
http://www.flute.com/ and the excellent source books and
writings, such as Nancy Toff's Monarch of the Flute, and Demetra
Baferos Fair's Doctoral Disertation: Flutists’ Family Tree10 and information from David Berkowitz.
Hugo Wittgenstein in about 1898
Hugo Wittgenstein was born in Westphalia, Germany in May 1856, but emigrated with his
family to Kentucky at age 3. He was a flute student of Martin
Heindl of the Boston Quintette Club (in which
, the first Principal cello of the Philadelphia Orchestra also
played). In 1874,
Wittgenstein joined the Theodore Thomas Orchestra and taught at the
Cincinnati College of Music, where Theodore Thomas had for 18 months
accepted the Directorship. For one season, 1884-1885, Hugo
Wittgenstein seems to have been Principal flute with the
Opera Orchestra, although records are incomplete. Wittgenstein
was later flute with the New York Philharmonic in the 1890s.
Marino Capelli may have been one of the Principal flutes of the mid-1880s
MET orchestra, but records are poor. Marino Capelli is listed as solo
flute in an Atlanta, Georgia silent movie theater in 1921 68,
suggesting his musical career had not prospered.
Carl Wehner was born in Mannheim, Germany February 27, 1838 62.
Both his grandfather and father had been flute players. Wehner's
father died while Carl was young, and he went to Würzburg, Germany to
study under Caspar Röder 62. Carl Wehner then became a flute student
of the famous Theobald Boehm (1794-1881). Wehner then went to
Russia, where, after difficulties, finally was appointed solo flute
with the Wehner was solo flute for Imperial Mariinksy Theater in
St. Petersburg, sitting next to the Italian flutist Cesare Ciardi
(1818-1877), in St. Petersburg from about 1867-1884
62. Wehner spent 17 years in Russia, after which
he accepted a solo flute position at the König Theater Hannover in
about 1875 63.
It was there, in Germany that Theodore Thomas recruited Wehner for
his orchestra in the United States. Wehner was then Principal
flute with the New York Symphony under Leopold Damrosch from
1877 to about 1885. In the 1885-1886 season, Wehner was solo
flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. The next season,
Wehner joined the New York Philharmonic as solo flute 1886-1891
under Theodore Thomas. The next season, 1891-1892, Otto
Oesterle served as solo flute of the Philharmonic. The next
season, Wehner became Principal with the New York Philharmonic
again, serving from 1892-1900. A historian of the flute maker
William Hayes, Susan Berdahl wrote: "...While Carl Wehner, first
flutist with the Metropolitan Opera Company Orchestra, was touring
in Boston he had occasion to use one of William Haynes’ early flutes
made while he was still with J.C. Haynes and Co. in 1898. Wehner
liked the flute so much that he purchased it for one hundred dollars
and subsequently was responsible for the sale of six more Haynes
flutes to his friends and colleagues...", which helped establish Haynes’s
reputation 15. However, it seems Wehner did not
like metal flutes. Leonardo De Lorenzo, a student of Carl
Wehner stated "...I regret to say that Carl Wehner's hatred for the
metal flute was excessive and exaggerated. In spite of his
financial difficulties in his last years, he would never hear or
teach anyone with a metal flute!" 16. Georges
Barrère was gaining new flute students at Wehner's expense
63. Flutists were more and more preferring
the lighter French sound played with
a metal flute. Carl Wehner died in New York City in 1912.
at least 1905 - 1913
Otto Carl Friedrich Stoeckert (or Stöckert)
Otto Stoeckert was born in Germany in 1863. He emigrated
to the U.S. in 1884, and settled in New York City. Stoeckert
played in numerous concert groups in New York City during the 1890s.
Otto Stoeckert became Principal flute in the
Seidl Orchestra that conductor
organized in 1897, which likely would have continued except for the
event of Seidl's sudden death in 1898. Otto Stoeckert was
Principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at least from 1905
until 1913. As did most other musicians of
this era, Stoeckert played in summer festival orchestras in the
1910s. Stoeckert is also listed by the
Chicago Symphony archives as being Principal flute with the Chicago
Symphony in 1907, apparently for less than a full season.
Stoeckert also seems to have been a Principal flute with the New York
Symphony, which in the early MET years was the house orchestra of
the Metropolitan Opera Philharmonic. Otto Stoeckert died in
Brooklyn, New York on March 23, 1913 at the end of the 1912-1913 season,
age only 50.
Giuseppe Brugnoli was born in Borgotaro, near L'Aquila (100 km northeast
of Rome), Italy August 4, 1873.
Brugnoli was solo flute under Toscanini at La Scala, Milan and also of the
Orchestra del teatro Augusteo di Roma 63. At the
Metropolitan, he was referred to as "the flute of Toscanini".
After his six seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, he returned in 1920
to join Arturo Toscanini at the famous reopening (with Falstaff) of La Scala,
Milan in 1921. Giuseppe Brugnoli died in Italy in 1952 63.
Nicola Laucella, who in public records referred to himself as Nicholas
Laucella, was born in the Avellino province, east of Naples, Italy on
July 1, 1882, and emigrated to the U.S. in
1895. Laucella during 1904-1907 was either a flute or the solo
flute of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 14.
Nicola Laucella was Principal flute of the New York Philharmonic
1909-1911, and then stayed with the Philharmonic until the end of
the 1918-1919 season. In the 1919-1920 season, Nicola Laucella
became Principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, where he
stayed for 17 seasons. In 1920, Nicola Laucella made three flute
recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company with the Peruvian
composer Daniel Alomia Robles (1871-1942), but these recordings were not
issued 69. We do however have recordings of Nicola
Laucella playing, such as this Wolf-Ferrari aria from 'I gioielli della
Madonna' sung March 24, 1930 by Giuseppe De Luca (1876-1950), Metropolitan
Opera star, with Nicola Laucella, flute obbligato.
Ewald Haun was born in Homestead, Pennsylvania (suburban Pittsburgh)
December 7, 1891 of German parents. He was trained in both
piano and flute. He studied music in Germany with Barlassieve
12. In the 1910s, he worked as a musician in
Cincinnati, including as a hotel musician, both in piano and flute. Haun
played flute with the Cincinnati Symphony 1920 - 1926. He
provided piano accompaniment for singers, including Amelita
Galli-Curci in tour on in the 1920s. Ewald Haun also performed
on flute with the Atwater-Kent Orchestra under
in 1926. He played in New York orchestras in the 1920s. Haun also
conducted radio orchestras in the early 1930s. He died in
January, 1939 from heart disease.
Arthur Lora was born in the Novale province of Vicenza, Italy
on March 11, 1903.  In 1907, his family emigrated to the
U.S., settling in Rhode Island. In 1916, when his family
moved to New York, Lora decided to follow a career as a flutist.
His was a musical family, with his brother Alfred Lora becoming a
violinist with the New York Philharmonic, and his brother Antonio
Lora being a pianist and composer who also studied and taught at
Juilliard. In 1919 at age 16, Arthur Lora enrolled in the
Institute of Art (Juilliard) where he studied flute under the
legendary Georges Barrère (1876-1944). Arthur Lora graduated
from Juilliard in 1923. Lora then became Principal flute with
the State Symphony of New York under Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960)
26. Beginning in 1926, Lora was Georges Barrère's
assistant at the Institute of Musical Art, teaching flute, which he
continued for the next thirty years. Arthur Lora was active with
the New York Chamber Music Society from 1921-1936
62. During 1928-1936, Arthur Lora was first flute for
the NBC radio broadcast orchestra, a desirable post since it was
year-around employment, at a time when orchestra musicians might play
for a 24 or 30 week season. Then, in 1937, Arthur Lora
became Principal flute of the Metropolitan opera for seven seasons
1937-1944. Following the death of Georges Barrère in 1944,
Lora succeeded him as head of the flute program at Juilliard 62, where
he continued into the 1970s. Lora became Principal Flute of the
NBC Symphony Orchestra under Toscanini 1948-1952, succeeding Carmine
Coppola. Lora also played in the Symphony of the Air's Far East
tour in May and June, 1955.
As well as teaching at the Juilliard School in the
1950s and 1960s, Lora was also active as a New York session recording
musician, and played Broadway shows (e.g. Stoppard's 'Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern Are Dead'). Lora was also interested in musical
scholarship, and certain forgotten works, such as the compositions
of C.P.E. Bach. Arthur Lora died on November 28, 1992
in Santa Barbara, California.
Harold Bennett was born in Casper, Wyoming on August 27, 1913. He studied
with William Kincaid at the Curtis Institute where he graduated in 1935
99. Harold Bennett, after graduating from Curtis was from 1935-1937
Principal flute of the National Symphony of Washington, D.C. under Hans Kindler.
Harold Bennett then went to New York, where he was Principal flute with
the Radio City Music Hall orchestra, an attractive, year-around job. Bennett
then went to the Pittsburgh Symphony as Principal Flute under Fritz Reiner,
1938-1940. Bennett went from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia in the 1940-1941
season. In Philadelphia, he was Assistant Principal flute and piccolo in
the Philadelphia Orchestra, sitting next to his teacher and colleague
William Kincaid during the War, 1940-1944. After Philadelphia,
Harold Bennett was principal flute for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
for 21 seasons from 1944-1965. During much of his tenure at the Metropolitan,
Bennett also performed radio, and later television concerts ('The Voice of Firestone')
and recorded regularly with the New York-based Firestone Orchestra 1938-1960,
under Howard Barlow. Harold Bennett later said that he had
developed a device to prevent the flute from losing its pitch with the change
in temperature. This bears further research! Incidentally, Harold
Bennett was not related to Henry Fillmore (1881-1956), the composer of many marches,
who used the name Harold Bennett as a pseudonym. Beginning in 1962,
Harold Bennett taught flute at the Manhattan School of Music 99.
Harold Bennett died of a heart attack on September 17, 1985 in
Jackson Heights, New York.
James Politis was born September 2, 1921 in New York City of
He studied flute under John R. Wummer (1899-1977) of the New York
Philharmonic. James Politis joined the Metropolitan Opera
as Assistant Principal flute in the 1951-1952 season.
He became Principal flute of the Metropolitan
Opera in the 1956-1957 season serving first with Harold Bennett,
and beginning in the 1965-1966 season, with Victor Just.
David Berkowitz wrote that Politis, due to family problems
developed poor habits which undermined his health in his
later years 43. James Politis
suddenly died in December, 1976, still performing, age only 55.
Victor Just was born in 1913.
Victor Just studied at the Institute of Musical Art (Juilliard) with
Georges Barrère (1876-1944) in New York in about 1932. Just was
Principal flute of the Baltimore Symphony for one season, 1943-1944.
in the 1950s, Victor Just was a sessions musician in New York
City. Just joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as Co-Principal
flute in the 1965-1966 season. He remained at the MET for eleven
seasons, retiring at the end of the 1975-1976 season. During this
time, Just taught at the Mannes School of Music in New York City.
Victor Just died in April, 2002.
Trudy Kane was born on October 21, 1950 in New York. She
came from a musical family, both her parents being music
teachers. Trudy Kane studied at the Juilliard School, gaining her
BMus and MMus. After graduation, Trudy Kane was a New York freelance
musician, including being a regular extra with the New York Philharmonoic.
On the sudden death of James Politis in December, 1976 and the
retirement of Victor Just, Trudy Kane won the audition for the Principal
Flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. She served in the first
chair postion for thiry-two seasons until retiring at the end of 2007-2008.
Trudy Kane has been active during summers in the
Waterloo Festival - New Jersey, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra - New
York, and the Mostly Mozart Orchestra - New York City. In 2008,
she joined the faculty of the Frost School of Music of the University
of Miami, where she continues teaching and sharing her heritage with
next generations of musicians.
Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson was born in Neskaupstadur,
Iceland. In Iceland, he studied at the Reykjavik College
of Music. He then relocated to the UK where he married and
also studied with Peter Lloyd (1931- ) at the Royal Northern
College of Music - Manchester.
Stefán Höskuldsson joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
flute section in the 2004-2005 season. In the 2008-2009 season,
Höskuldsson gained the Principal flute chair of the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra. Prior to the MET, in 2006, Stefán Höskuldsson
performed the Lowell Liebermann (1961- ) Flute Concerto
with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in Reykjavik. He has also
been active in summer festivals, such as the Woodstock Mozart Festival -
Illinois, where he was soloist.
Denis Bouriakov was born in 1981 in the Ukraine. As a youth, he gained
entrance to the Moscow Central Special Music School, where he graduated in
2000. Bouriakov then entered the Royal Academy of Music, London,
where he graduated with honors (honours!) in 2004. In the 2004-2005 season,
Denis Bouriakov was appointed Principal flute with the Tampere Philharmonic
- Finland. In 2008, Bouriakov won the competition for the Principal
flute position with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. Also in 2008, he
won the competition for the Principal flute position with the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra, being Co-Principal with Stefán Höskuldsson.
Interestingly, Denis Bouriakov has recorded the Sibelius
Violin Concerto, perhaps due to his years playing in Finland.
In teaching, Bouriakov has for several years cooperated with William Bennett
as his teaching assistant in the International Summer Schools in Farnham,
Surrey, UK and in Chicago.
The MET maintains two
horn Principals, due to the heavy work load. In recent years,
this has comprised two "quartets" of horns, with a ninth horn as
Xavier F. Reiter
Picture of Xavier Reiter (courtesy of Gregg Squires)
Xavier Reiter was born in Munich, Germany in March 1857. He
came to the United States in 1886 to join the Boston Symphony as
Principal horn under Wilhelm Gericke. Reiter
settled in Boston and he became a citizen in
1890. Reiter was often during his career in Boston and New
York referred to is the greatest horn player in the U.S.
As well as being a gifted horn player, Reiter was apparently what we
refer to as a "character". He wore his hair down over his
shoulders and also a beard and full moustache, as can be seen in the
photograph below. His total appearance seems to have been
something like Buffalo Bill. In the January 14, 1890 New York
Times article entitled "A Missing Horn Player", it further states
that Reiter "...wears a big, broad-brimmed Texas slouch hat...and
his manly form is enrapped in a big fur
According to David Mannes autobiography, it seems that Reiter
decided to leave Boston and the BSO when he and his two large
Russian Wolfhounds were arrested in the Boston Commons for bathing
his dogs in a public fountain 103. It would seem
difficult to be arrested for such a reason, but then Reiter was
'larger than life'. This image is reinforced by an amusing
account by the great horn player Milan Yancich (brother of Charles Yancich)
about Xavier Reiter. '...[Reiter's] transportation was a bicycle.
He often wore a tam and a cape training in the wind. He looked like Count
Dracula in persuit of a victim. His horn was slung across his back as he rode
across the Boston Commons on his bicycle...'104.
After 1890, Reiter became Principal horn
of the New York Philharmonic Society during the 1910s.
At that time, he also helped form the Philharmonic Ensemble, a
wind quintet with violin consisting of
clarinet, Xavier Reiter horn, August Mesnard
bassoon, Anton Fayer flute, and joined by
, then Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic
Earlier, in the 1900s, Reiter was Principal horn of the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra under Seidel, where he could enjoy his favorite
operas, particularly Wagner. It is said that Reiter was
instrumental in convincing his town in Westchester County, New York
to rename itself "Valhalla", Reiter being an avid admirer
of Richard Wagner and his Ring cycle. Bruno Jaenicke, the great
Boston horn player (1913-1918) and later Principal horn of the New York
Philharmonic wrote of Reiter (in an article edited by that
other great Boston Symphony horn, Harold Meek 1943-1963) '... I want to mention
a horn player who uses the B-flat horn, but whose tone is as velvety
and as poetical as that of any F horn players I have known. He is Mr.
Xavier Reiter. I remember the first impression which his playing
made on me. It was in Boston about 14 years ago. The New York
Philharmonic played in Symphony Hall. Mischa Elman played the
Scotch Fantasy, but when Reiter had the melody for only a few
bars, he overshadowed Elman. But Reiter can sing on his horn.
And we other fellows better stick to the F horn.'
105. Xavier Reiter died in May, 1938.
(note: The photo of Xavier Reiter was kindly sent to me by Gregg Squires, himself a
horn player in both the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Radio City
Music Hall orchestra. Gregg is a music producer and you can
visit him at his site
Hermann (or Herman) Hand was born in Vienna, Austria where he studied first
with his Musician father Ingnatz Hand. Herman Hand was later a horn student
of Josef Schandel in Vienna 59 on August 17, 1875. Hermann Hand was
Principal horn at the Vienna Staatsoper in the early 1890s. He emigrated
to New York City in November 1900. In New York, Hand was one of the initial
teachers at the Institute of Musical Art 59.
During the 1905-1906 season, Hermann Hand was Principal horn of the New York
Symphony under Walter Damrosch. Then, beginning 1906, Hermann Hand was
Principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at least during
1906-1907, and perhaps in the two later seasons. Hand was in
1910-1911 a horn in the John Philip Sousa Band 98 including the
Sousa world tour in 1911. In the
1910s, Hermann Hand was a New York City theater orchestra musician, playing
in musical productions under the conductor Victor Baravalle (1885–1939) of
later Broadway fame (later, Showboat and other Jerome Kern musicals).
In March 1923, Hermann Hand joined the Paul Whiteman Band in their tour to the
United Kingdom. In the late 1920s, Hermann Hand moved to Hollywood where
he played in the film studios, including MGM. He lived in Beverly Hills,
and died in Los Angeles, California on December 1, 1951.
Richard Lindenhahn born in Germany June 13, 1877. He played horn
in Amsterdam, prior to relocation to New York in 1909. He joined
the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 1909-1910 season, and became
Principal MET horn in the 1910-1911 season.
For 23 1/2 seasons, from 1911 - 1934, Richard Lindenhahn was
Principal horn of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
under conductors Emil Oberhoffer (1867-1933) and Henri Verbrugghen
(1873-1934). Lindenhahn also taught horn at the
University of Minnesota during the period
he was at Minneapolis. Lindenhahn played for a time in the
Sousa Band. Richard Lindenhahn died in November 7, 1934
in Minneapolis at age 57 after having hurried to a rehearsal
of Ein Heldenleben 27.
Joseph Avallone was born in Salerno, Italy January 1, 1895, and came to the U.S.
with his family in 1911. He began study of the horn in Italy when he was 7.
In the 1940s, he also played Principal horn in the orchestra of the Bell Telephone
Richard Moore was born in Minnesota in 1914. His father, William Moore was
an Entomologist and amateur musician. Richard Moore studied at the
University of California, Los Angeles, and later studied with Lorenzo Sansone
(1881-1975) in New York City. He was a graduate student at the
Juilliard School in the mid-1930s, studying with Josef Franzl 1882-1955.
In the summer of 1936, Richard Moore was Second horn of the Chautauqua Orchestra
in New York. In about 1937-1938 Richard Moore was
Principal horn of the National Symphony of Washington DC, and then Assistant
Principal horn of the Pittsburgh Symphony under Fritz Reiner in 1938-1939.
In 1940 Richard Moore played horn in the orchestra of the Radio City Music
Hall. At that time, he was an active free-lance musician in New York
City, and briefly played in Arturo Toscanini's NBC Symphony
Orchestra. Then, in the 1942-1943 season, Richard
Moore entered the horn section of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, but almost
immediately he entered the World War 2 armed forces. Richard Moore was
Principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera for 22 seasons, 1942-1964, playing
next to Principal horn Gunther Schuller most of that time.
He continued in the horn section, with a total of 43 seasons of service
with the Metropolitan opera 1942-1985. During this time, Moore continued
to be active in the New York freelance scene. According to the Horn Call,
the journal of the International Horn Society, Richard Moore was particularly proud
of the recordings of Engelbert Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel in 1947,
Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti conducted by Fritz Stiedry, and the famous
performance of Richard Strauss's Salome with Lujba Welitch and
Kerstin Thorborg conducted by Fritz Reiner in December 1949. For two
decades Richard Moore taught at the Manhattan School of Music, and he published
several volumes of exercises and practice instruction for the horn, still
widely used. Richard Moore died in New York in 1989.
As a youth, David Rattner took lessons at the New York College of Music.
He then gained admission to the Juilliard School He further studied
Music Education at New York University and at Columbia University.
This was followed by graduate work at the Juilliard School 124.
David Rattner played in the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra in 1939-1960. The
Radio City group had the advantage in that era of year-around employment, unlike
the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, or any US symphony orchestra, except the
Boston Symphony. In New York City at that time, Rattner also freelanced,
including playing in radio staff orchestras for CBS New York, NBC New York
and WOR radio New York.
Rattner played at the Woodstock Music Festival in the Summers of
1948 and 1949 After retiring from the Metropolitan Opera, David Rattner
continued to teach at the Hyde Park School System in New York.
Gunther Schuller at the beginning of his Metropolitan Opera career
Gunther Schuller born November 22, 1925 in New York to a New York Philharmonic violinist
father Arthur Schuller. Arthur Schuller (1900-1992), whose father was also a musician
and conductor, had studied at the Berlin Akademische Hochschule für Musik
and had emigrated to the US in 1923.
Gunther Schuller studied both flute and horn as
well as musical theory and composition at the Manhattan School of Music.
At age 17, Gunther Schuller was appointed Principal horn of the Cincinnati Symphony
where he served two seasons 1943-1945. Then, in the 1945-1946 season,
Gunther Schuller entered the horn section of the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra. In his wonderful, newly published autobiography Gunther Schuller:
A Life in Pursuit of Music and Beauty, Schuller writes:
"...I was now approaching my fifth year at the Met ... [and] my full promotion
to co-principal horn. David Rattner was relieved of his position near the end of the
1949–50 season, and I was told sometime on the spring tour that Max Rudolf, Fritz Reiner,
and Fritz Stiedry had all recommended that, without need for an audition, I be moved up
to first horn ... "
Gunther Schuller:: A Life in Pursuit of Music and Beauty - Boydell & Brewer, Limited. 125
Gunther Schuller also taught music at this alma mater: the Manhattan School of Music
1950-1963. Living in Boston, he was also President of the New England Conservatory
1966-1977. Schuller has wrotten more than 190 compositions, including winning the 1994
Pulitzer Prize for Music. A recent example is Where the Word Ends which was
given its premiere by the Boston Symphony in 2009 126.
He has also been active in both chamber music and
as a jazz musician (and writing books and articles on the history of Jazz). Gunther Schuller
was the Spokane Symphony - Washington Principal conductor beginning 1984, and was Artistic
Director of the Festival at Sandpoint - Washington 1985-1999, and the Northwest Bach Festival.
Silvio Coscia was born in Milan, Italy November 27, 1899 and came to
the U.S. in 1921. He told interviewers that his father had come
to New York with Metropolitan Opera manager Gatti-Casazza, and that his
father and brother sang in the Metropolitan Opera chorus 30.
Silvio Coscia was co-Principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra for 34 seasons from 1930 to 1964. Coscia composed a
number of works for horn, including 'Faust in the Forest' and chamber
works for horn. Silvio Coscia retired from the MET orchestra at
the retirement age of 65 at the end of the 1963-1964 season. He was
still active in teaching, including the New England Conservatory in
Boston in 1972. Silvio Coscia died in Watertown, Massachusetts
on September 15, 1977.
Howard Howard was born in Montana. He played in the Detroit
Symphony. He joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 1961
and became Co-Principal horn in the 1962-1963 season. Howard Howard
retired from the MET Orchestra at the end of the 2006-2007 season,
after 45 seasons with the Orchestra (where he was also famous for his
long-running poker games as well as for his gifted musicianship).
Julie Landsman was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 3, 1953.
She after winning her audition at the Julliard School, whe studied with
James Chambers, Philadelphia Orchestra Principal
horn. Julie Landsman prior to the Metropolitan Opera was
Co-Principal horn of the Houston Symphony and Principal horn of the
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. She has been active in summer music festivals, including
the Marlboro Music Festival - Vermont, the Sarasota Music Festival - Florida, the
La Jolla SummerFest - California, Chamber Music Northwest - Oregon and
the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival - New Mexico. Julie Landsman
teaches at her alma mater, the Juilliard School and at Bard Conservatory.
Joseph Anderer was born in Philadelphia in 1950. While in Philadelphia, as a
young musician, he studied at the Settlement Music School. Then Joseph Anderer
won his audition to study the Juilliard School. At Juilliard, he studied
primarily with Ranier De Intinis, York Philharmonic horn 1950-1993.
Joseph Anderer joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 1984. Active in summer
music festivals, he was featured in the Caramoor Festival - New York, Bargemusic -
Brooklyn, Mt. Desert Island Festival - Maine. Anderer was has
been active with the Boehm Woodwind Quintet including in several CDs, including
Music of Irwin Bazelon (1922-1995), conducted by Gunther Schuller
Joseph Anderer was also a founding member of the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the
New York City-based chamber orchestra, with which he has been active all during his
MET career. With St. Luke's, Joseph Anderer
was the soloist in the American premiere of Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal
at Carnegie Hall on April 15, 1988. Joseph Anderer also performed at Herman Prey's
last New York recital prior to his death, in Schubert's Auf dem Strom
with both Hermann Prey and James Levine. He is also active as a New York sessions
musicians, including everything from commercials to albums by Dawn Upshaw, Billy Joel,
Mandy Patinkin, Grover Washington, Jr, Marcus Roberts, and Tony Bennett. With
the great Metropolitan Opera Orchestra today, Joseph Anderer continues
the MET's rich horn section tradition of virtuosity at the service of opera.
Erik Ralske was born on Long Island, New York on December 5, 1957. Ralske won his audition
with the Juilliard School, where he went on to gain both his Bachelor of Music and
Master of Music degrees. Erik Ralske began a strong orchestral career as
Principal horn with the Tulsa Philharmonic - Oklahoma 1982-1983 and with the
Florida Symphony in Orlando 1983-1984. He was then Principal horn with the
Vancouver Symphony 1984-1987 and Associate Principal with the Houston Symphony Orchestra
1987-1993. Erik Ralske then joined the New York Philharmonic, where he served
1993-2010. At the Philharmonic, Erik Ralske was Third horn just as his Juilliard
teacher (and the teacher of Joseph Anderer) Ranier De Intinis had been.
Erik Ralske was also for several years New York Philharmonic
Acting Associate Principal. After auditioning with the Los Angeles Philharmonic
and with the Metropolitan Opera, with offers from both to become Principal horn, Ralske
decided in May 2010 to accept the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra offer.
So, beginning in the 2010-2011 season, Erik Ralske succeeded Julie Landsman,
joining his fellow Principal horn, Joseph Anderer. Erik Ralske teaches at
the Manhattan School of Music, and at the Mannes College of Music. He has also
been active in summer music festivals, including the Seattle Chamber Music Festival -
Washington and the Vancouver Chamber Music Festivals - British Columbia.
His rich and varied orchestral career is now enriched with the repertoire of
the great operas, a joy which we may now share with him.
Herbert L. Clarke, one of
the most famous cornet soloists in the U.S. in the early part of the
Twentieth century at a time when cornet playing was at its height.
Herbert Clarke was bon in Woburn, Massachusetts on September 12,
1867. Clarke's father was a musician and organist, and
Clarke's early musical education was on the violin. Because of his
father's organist profession, the family moved often, and to Toronto in
1880. Herbert Clarke first studied violin, and interestingly, in 1881,
at age 14, he was a second violinist in the Toronto Philharmonic.
However, Clarke states in his autobiography that also in 1881, the American
Band visited Toronto, where Clarke heard the cornet playing of
Bowen R. Church. In the United States at the time, and until
about the 1930s, there was a great entertainment tradition of
cornet solo playing with bands, lost in today's availability of music
from numerous sources. In 1893, Clarke joined the Sousa Band as a
cornet soloist. In 1893, Clarke also played in the Chicago World's
Fair, continuing to play with different bands during the mid-1890s.
In about the 1898-1899 season, Herbert L. Clarke was second trumpet with
the New York Philharmonic under Emil Paur. The next season, 1899-1900,
Herbert Clark was Principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
From abotu 1900 to 1917, Herbert L. Clarke played again in the Sousa Band,
including leading it in recording sessions of the Sousa Band for Victor
Talking Machine Company. Clarke also recorded for the Edison, Columbia, and
Brunswick labels. 1917-1923, Herbert Clarke returned to Ontario, Canada where
he directed a band, composed, and taught trumpet. In 1923, Herbert Clarke
and his wife moved to Long Beach, California for his wife's health. In
California, Clarke Long Beach Municipal Band until 1943.
Herbert L. Clarke died in Long Beach on January 30, 1945.
Herman Basse was born in Goslar, near Hannover, Germany in
February 18, 1866 and emigrated to the U.S. in 1893 with his
wife Johannah and baby daughter to New York
City, becoming a citizen in 1902. From 1899-1904, Basse
was Principal trumpet with the New York Philharmonic.
During the 1904-1905 season, Basse was Principal Trumpet of the
Philadelphia Orchestra under Fritz Scheel. With the next
season, 1905-1906 and until the end of the 1911-1912 season, he was again
solo trumpet with the Metropolitan Opera orchestra. In 1912-1914,
Besse was Principal trumpet of the of the Chicago Grand Opera
Company under Cleofonte Campanini (1860-1919). In the 1914-1915
season, Basse again joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as Principal
trumpet under Leopold Stokowski. After that season,
Basse then remained with the Philadelphia Orchestra 1915-1917, but
relinquished the first chair trumpet position to
. In 1917, Basse left the Philadelphia Orchestra, and went to
the Detroit Symphony trumpet section. Basse later retired to Florida
where he lived at least until 1937.
Oscar Saul was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1868 of German parents. His
father William Saul, born in Germany in 1826, and his brother Theodore Saul, born
in New York City in 1848 were also a musicians. Oscar Saul was co-Principal
trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for six seasons, 1899-1905, alternating
with his colleague Principal trumpet Herman Basse. Saul continued to be
a private musician into the 1920s in New York City.
Edwin Franko Goldman was born in Louisville, Kentucky on January 1, 1878.
His mother was Selma Franko Goldman, of the musically famous Franko family, and
was his uncle. In the late 1880s, after his family relocated
to New York City, Goldman studied cornet with George Wiegand at the
Hebrew Orphan Asylum. Goldman then won a scholarship to enter t
he National Conservatory of Music in New York, of which Dvorak was
Director. There, Goldman studied composition and cornet/trumpet
with Jules Levy and Carl Sohst. In 1893, Edwin Franko Goldman began
playing trumpet with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, at a time when his
uncle, Nahan Franko was Concertmaster of the MET Orchestra. Goldman was named
Principal trumpet at the MET in the 1901-1902 season. After nine seasons
at the Metropolitan Opera, in 1911, Edwin Franco Goldman founded the New York
Military Band, later in 1920 became known as the Goldman Band.
The Goldman Band was famous during the next 40 years, including in radio
broadcasting. Goldman was an active band composer, primarily of marches,
including his most famous march 'On the Mall'.
Edwin Franko Goldman died in New York on February 21, 1956, age 79.
Christian Rodenkirchen was born in Hennef, 30 km south of
Cologne, Germany on February 19, 1858. Rodenkirchen played
cornet in a regimental band in Cologne in 1883 34.
Shortly thereafter, Christian Rodenkirchen emigrated to the US, and
seems to have settled first in the Chicago area. During his
constantly changing career Rodenkirchen was first trumpet of a number of
leading American Orchestras from 1891 to 1915. In 1890, he
was a member of a mid-west touring orchestra, the Aamold Concert
Company, conducted by August Aamold (1863-after 1930). Rodenkirchen
joined the trumpet section at the founding of the Chicago Symphony
in the 1891-1892 season as first cornet. Rodenkirchen was first
cornet and then Principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony for eleven
seasons, 1891-1902. He then seems to have had a falling-out with
Theodore Thomas, and Rodenkirchen's contract for the next season was not
renewed. Rodenkirchen then became Principal trumpet of the New
York Symphony during the 1903-1904 season under Walter Damrosch.
The next season, Rodenkirchen became Principal Trumpet of the
Metropolitan Opera for the 1904-1905 season. Continuing his
peripatetic career journey, Christian Rodenkirchen then joined the
New York Philharmonic as first trumpet from 1905-1907.
In New York in 1907, Rodenkirchen married his second wife, Mary
McNally, 20 years younger.
Christian Rodenkirchen with wife Mary McNally in about 1910
He moved to the Philadelphia Orchestra
for two seasons as Principal trumpet under Karl Pohlig 1907-1909.
Rodenkirchen then returned to the New York Philharmonic (it would seem
as first trumpet) from 1909-1911 during the years of Gustav Mahler as
Music Director 34. Rodenkirchen then returned to the
Philadelphia Orchestra as second trumpet from 1911 until his early
death on February 6, 1915, just days before his 57th birthday.
Because of his early death, Christian Rodenkirchen did not finish the
Philadelphia Orchestra 1914-1915 season, ending his restless career.
Christian Rodenkirchen, through his many students was, like Max Schlossberg
(1873-1936), an early creator of what became to be considered an American
school of trumpet playing 114.
Frank Chiaffarelli was a member of the Metropolitan Opera trumpet
section for several seasons, and was Co-Principal trumpet for the
1918-1919 season when he replaced Pietro Capodiferro who was
1919 - 1923, 1924 - 1925,
1935 - 1936, 1938 - 1939
John (Giovanni) Nappi Principal
John (or Giovanni) Nappi was born in Italy in 1884. He emigrated
to New York City in 1906.
When John Nappi was to retire from the Metropolitan Opera, William Vacchiano
auditioned for the position, and was accepted as Principal trumpet.
However, the same day, a Monday, Vacchiano also auditioned for the
New York Philharmonic and also was immediately accepted as
Principal trumpet 130.
In this way, Vacchiano entered his long career as Principal trumpet of the New York
Joseph Alessi was born in Italy on March 4, 1876 and emigrated to the U.S.
in 1890. In 1901, he married Josephine Interrante, and in
1910, they lived in Brooklyn, New York where Joseph was cornet
player in a band. In the 1920-1921 season, Alessi became
Co-Principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera, with John Nappi and
Philip de Blasi. He later played trumpet with the NBC
Symphony. He was father to
Joe Alessi, Principal trumpet
of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and grandfather of
Joseph Alessi, Jr
. (1959- ), second trombone of the Philadelphia Orchestra
1981-1984 and Principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic
1984-present. Joseph Alessi Sr. taught at the Manhattan School of
Music and played trumpet in the NBC Symphony.
1923 - 1932
Philip de Blasi Principal
Philip de Blasi was born in Italy in 1890 and with his family
emigrated to New York City in 1898. His was a musical family,
and his older brother Thomas de Blasi was also a musician.
1930 - 1943
Edmondo Botti Principal
Edmondo Botti was born in Modena, Italy, near Bologna
on April 19, 1882. After study with his musician father,
Edmondo Botti entered the Royal Conservatory of Music, Bologna
where he graduated in 1898 129. Edmondo Botti
was trumpet with the orchestra of La Scala, Milan for about
20 seasons. Botti then emigrated to New York City at age 42 in
1924. He became a staff musician with the NBC radio orchestra
in New York. In the 1930-1931 season, he was named to join
Philip de Blasi as Principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera
orchestra. Botti served as Principal for 13 seasons until
his early death. Edmondo Botti died suddenly in New York City
on August 22, 1943.
Isadore Blank photo: Sedge LeBlang circa early 1950s
Isidore Blank [note: seems to have been Isidore, although sometimes listed as
"Isadore"] was born in New York City in 1913. He studied first with
his Russian-born musician father Jacob Blank, who was a cornet player and who also
operated a music store. Blank later studied with the legendary teacher
Max Schlossberg (1873-1936) 122. Isadore Blank was appointed
Co-Principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the 1939-1940 season,
serving at that time a the alternate Principal trumpet with Edmondo Botti.
Isidore Blank served as Principal trumpet with the MET for thirty-three seasons.
He was also an active teacher. David Berkowitz, long-time MET violinist recalled
that often the things that Isidore "Izzy" Blank said seemed to come out
comically, even though Blank was serious. Berkowitz tells the story about the
gifted first horn of the MET, Joseph Avallone, normally mild-mannered, becoming
enraged at a critic in the New York Herald Tribune, writing of a horn error
by the MET orchestra in the overture to Fidelio. As Berkowitz tells it,
Joseph Avallone shouted "...'stupido, doesn't he know this is one of the most
difficult passages written for the horn', and then smashed his horn against
the brick wall. Izzy Blank, whose father had a musical instrument store
then said 'don't worry Joe, my father will fix it for you cheap'..."
Raymond Crisara was born in New York in 1920. He studied as a teen
with Ernest Williams at the Ernest Williams School of Music in
Brooklyn, He was then invited by William Revelli (1902-1994) to study with
him at the University of Michigan where Revelli was Director of Bands. His
Wikipedia biography says that Revelli "...recruited talented musicians to
Michigan like a football coach recruited top athletes..." 123.
After the University of Michigan, Raymond Crisara played solo trumpet with the
New York City-based Goldman Band. Then in the 1941-1942 season, Raymond
Crisara was appointed Principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
Crisara entered the US Army in 1942. After World War 2, Raymond Crisara
joined the staff orchestra of NBC radio in New York City, which had the advantage
of year-around employment, which neither the MET nor any symphony orchestra of
that era, other than the Boston Symphony, could offer. This led to his
playing with Arturo Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra in the late 1940s.
After retiring from orchestral playing, Raymond Crisara pursued a lengthy
tenure at the University of Texas - Austin teaching the next generation of
orchestral trumpet musicians. A 90th birthday celebration of Raymond
Crisara's career was held at the University of Texas - Austin on October 16,
2010. What a career!
1943-1946 Cecil L. Collins Principal
Cecil Collins was born in Salina, Kansas on May 31, 1914.
After playing trumpet in high school, he studied at Kansas State
University (or Kansas State College as it then was). William Vacchiano said that
Cecil Collins was his first trumpet student, the first of hundreds of
trumpet players taught by Vacchiano. On the sudden death of Edmondo Botti
just prior to the beginning of the Metropolitan Opera 1943-1944 season,
Cecil Collins was named Principal trumpet, joining Isidore Blank.
During World War 2, Cecil Collins was Principal trumpet of the
Metropolitan Opera for 3 seasons 1943-1946 (he does not seem to have
served in the US Army, although he was an ROTC student at
Kansas State 128). In New York, Cecil Collins taught
extensively at the Manhattan School of Music.
Cecil Collins died in Connecticut on November 3, 1988, age 74.
1945 - 1947 Ben Grauer Principal
Ben Grauer was born in New York City in 1918. He studied at the
City College of New York, Class of 1939.
Joe Alessi was born In Brooklyn, New York City on September 2, 1915, and
grew up in Norwood, New Jersey, a suburb of New York. At age
11, he began study of the trumpet with his father, Joseph Alessi,
Principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera 1920-1927. He was
admitted to the Julliard School, where he studied with Max
Schlossberg. Alessi later studied with William Vacchiano, and
Harry Glanz. He was in the Army during World War 2, and upon
discharge in 1945, played with the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra,
and the New York City Symphony under Leonard Bernstein.
Beginning with the 1946-1947 season, Joe Alessi became Principal
trumpet, along with Ben Grauer, and then Leonard Henkle of the
Metropolitan Opera. Joe Alessi was father of Joseph Alessi, Jr.
(1959- ), Principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic. In 1959,
leaving the Metropolitan Opera, Joe Alessi with his wife Maria, a
former soprano at the Metropolitan Opera moved to Las Vegas where he
performed trumpet and trombone at the Las Vegas hotels. In
1959, their son, Joseph Alessi, Jr. future Principal trombone of the
New York Philharmonic was born in Detroit, Michigan. Another
son, Ralph Alessi, born in March, 1963 became a leading Jazz
trumpeter. Then, for the 1960-1961 season, Joe Alessi joined
the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Principal trumpet.
Alessi then embarked on a career as music teacher, teaching at Aptos
Junior High School (50 km south of San Francisco), City College of
San Francisco and San Francisco State University. Joe Alessi
was father of
Joseph Alessi, Jr
. (1959- ), second trombone of the Philadelphia Orchestra
1981-1984 and Principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic
1984-present. He was also married to Maria Leone Alessi who was
a soprano with the Metropolitan Opera company. Incidentally, Joe
Alessi, according to his son was a very good baseball player, and
considered a professional baseball career. Joe Alessi died in
San Rafael, California on December 24, 2004, aged 89.
Leonard Henkle was born in New York City on September 1, 1917. He studied
first with his Russian-Ukrainian-Jewish emigrant father Ralph Lasar Henkle
(1888-1973) who was a music teacher, and later played in the
New York Philharmonic. Leonard Henkle was also one of the
many orchestral trumpets who studied with William Vacchiano.
Leonard Henkle was also Principal trumpet
of the Detroit Symphony 1943-1944 under Karl Krueger. Leonard
Henkle was appointed Co-Principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra in the 1948-1949 season. He served in the first chair
of the trumpet section for nine seasons 1948-1957.
Leonard Henkle died on August 23, 1990 in Palm Beach, Florida.
Melvyn "Mel" Broiles was born in Kansas in September 4, 1929.
He learned to play the trumpet in second grade in Salina, Kansas.
At the time of World War 2, while still a teenager, Melvyn Broiles moved
to the Los Angeles area where he played in dance bands. Broiles was
admitted to Juilliard in September, 1950, and became one of the many great
artists who trained with William Vacchiano. While at Juilliard, Broiles
also toured for 3 months in Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia with the Symphony
of the Air, made up primarily of former musicians of Toscanini's NBC Symphony.
Broiles was also a New York free-lance musician. During the period
of the Korean War, from 1951-1955 Mel Broiles was in the US Army and served
with the West Point Military Academy Band. Mel Broiles also played in
the Metropolitan Opera stage band in 1956. In the 1957-1958 season,
Eugene Ormandy decided to make a change in the Principal trumpet position.
He selected Melvyn Broiles to become Co-Principal trumpet of the Philadelphia
Orchestra with Samuel Krauss for the 1957-1958 season. The Philadelphia
Orchestra rosters show Melvin Broiles as Associate Principal trumpet,
but contemporary records, and the International Trumpet Guild Journal notes
of April, 2004 119 state that Melvyn Broils was Co-Principal in
Philadelphia for one season. In the 1958-1959
season Mel Broiles returned to the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as
Co-Principal trumpet, where he remained as Principal until his
retirement in July of 2001. Melvyn Broiles also taught at his alma
mater, the Juilliard school for three decades 1971-2001.
Melvyn Broiles died in New York City August 26, 2003, age 73.
The great Mark Gould recounts a memory of the great Melvyn Broiles
to New York trumpet player Josh Frank 120:
"...My first year at the MET in 1974, in a run of performances of Elektra,
(I was playing Fifth trumpet) Mel Broiles used to hold the high concert 'D'
in the Recognition scene so long and so loud, he used to black out
or white out. The Third trumpet player, Harry Peers, used to rub Mel's shoulder
after this note to wake him up and get him ready for the next entrance.
I remember hearing Harry whispering the countdown to the next entrance as
Mel slowly revived, his head bobbing slowly, his eyes again beginning to
focus. He 'woke up' just in time for the next big toot. When I asked him
about this passage, Mel told me, 'men die in battle to the sound of the
trumpet', and then walked away. WOW!! There will never be another Mel
Harry Del Peers was born in New York on March 6, 1925, and took up the
trumpet early. At age 16, he was admitted to the Curtis Institute,
studying with Sol Caston, where he graduated in the Class of 1942.
Harry Peers was Principal trumpet with the National Symphony of Washington
DC following Curtis. He also attended the Tanglewood Summer sessions
in about 1942. He was briefly in a US Army band at the end of World
War 2, and then was a staff musician with NBC in New York City.
Harry Peers joined the Metropolitan Opera orchestrra in the 1947-1948
season. He was initially Second trumpet and then Third trumpet
of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. In the 1972-1973 season,
James Levine advanced Harry Del Peers to the first stand as
Principal trumpet. From 1974 to his retirement in 1988, Harry Peers
was Third trumpet in the MET orchestra. Harry Peers married
Judith Thelen Peers, a dancer with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet.
Following his retirement, he continued to teach in New York City.
Harry Peers in New York on January 20, 2012, age 86 after a full career
including 41 seasons with the MET.
Mark Gould early in his MET tenure and more recently (right photo Peter Schaefer)
Mark Gould was born in New York City. He studied at Boston University
where he earned this BMus. Mark Gould joined the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as Principal trumpet in the 1973-1974 season.
He is also Director of the New York Trumpet Ensemble, a brass chamber group
which he co-founded. The Ensemble consists of Thomas Bontrager, a classically
trained trumpet musician who frequently plays jazz, Scott Thornburg Principal
trumpet of several orchestras, including New York City Symphony and the Orchestra
of St. Lukes,
David Bilger now Principal trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra
and Mark Gould. Click on the thumbnail below to see an early picture of the
New York Trumpet Ensemble,
with the musicians listed above shown left to right.
Mark Gould also plays in the New York-based the Main Street Band.
Mark Gould has been on the faculty of the Juilliard School since 1982,
as well as teaching at the Manhattan School since 2004.
Both respected and well-liked for his stimulating sense of humor,
Mark Gould retired from the Metropolitan Opera at the end of the
2002-2003 season at the top of his art. He has been active
in music festivals, including the Waterloo Festival - New Jersey,
the Caramoor Festival - New York, and the Vermont Mozart Festival.
He also has been active as the frequent guest with Speculum Musicae,
the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the MET Chamber Ensemble,
the Empire Brass, the Canadian Brass, the Summit Brass, the
Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble, and Extension Ensemble.
He recorded the Bach Brandenburg Concerto no 2 with its exciting
high trumpet part, with the Philharmonia Virtuosi for Sony Records.
Mark Gould has also been active as an orchestral conductor following
the MET. So, he continues his full and active career in
both teaching and performing.
David Krauss was born in Long Island, New York in about 1971. David Krauss
attended the Juilliard pre-college division. While a student, he
had interesting early experience
when at the age of 10 he sang in the Metropolitan Opera Children's chorus.
David Krauss studied at the Julliard School with such greats as William Vacchiano
and Chris Gekker. At Juilliard, Krauss gained both his
BMus and MMus. Prior to joining the MET, Krauss was an active New York
freelance musician. As a freelance, Krauss played with a wide variety
of groups, including: the Orchestra of St Lukes, the New Jersey Symphony,
the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the New England Bach Festival Orchestra, and with
several Broadway shows. David Krauss was appointed Co-Principal trumpet of
the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in April, 2001. During his career, David
Krauss has also been active in summer music festivals, including the Marlboro
Music Festival - Vermont and the Saito Kinen Festival - Japan.
Billy Ray Hunter was born on October 15, 1974 in Austin, Texas. He also
studied in Austin at the University of Texas where he earned his BMus in 1997
studying with Raymond Crisara 121. He studied further at the
Juilliard School including with his predecessor as Principal trumpet
Mark Gould. Early in his career, Billy Ray Hunter played as a freelance
musician including with at Disney World, Florida 121. Billy Ray
Hunter broke into the orchestral world by a progression of posts, including
playing with the the Baltimore Symphony,
the New World Symphony in Florida (a training orchestra for young orchestral
musicians), the Spoleto Orchestra, and the Tanglewood Music Center orchestra.
In 2004, Billy Ray Hunter won the very competitive auditions for the open
Co-Principal trumpet postion with the Metropolitan Opera, joining the Orchestra
in the 2004-2005 season, where he continues the tradition of MET trumpet greatness.
His continues to be a musical family - he is married to Bulgarian-born pianist
Anna Stoytcheva who is also a Juilliard graduate.
Quick Navigation: Click Below to Jump to Principal Musician Sections
Per Brevig was born in Halden, Norway on September 7, 1938.
After study and playing in bands as a teen, at age 17 he was engaged as
the euphonium soloist with a national military band. After three years
in the military band, during which time he was a frequent soloist in
concerts and radio broadcasts. Then, Per Brevig appointed
Principal trombone of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Brevig then received a scholarship to study in Denmark with
Palmer Traulsen, Principal trombone of the Royal Danish Opera
Orchestra in about 1958-1959. Per Brevig then gained admission
to the Juilliard School in 1959. After Juilliard, Per Brevig
returned to the Bergen Philharmonic until 1965. At that time
he was also a Tanglewood fellow in the summer of 1965. In
1965, Per Brevig was also appointed Principal trombone of the
American Symphony Orchestra in New York by Leopold Stokowski.
In the 1968-1969 season, Per Brevig was appointed Principal trombone
of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He also began teaching at
the Juilliard School, where he also gained his Doctorate in Music
in 1975. Brevig also gave a series of trombone recitals in
New York City including of new music by Berio and other contemporary
composers, including contemporary Norwegian composer Arne Nordheim.
In 1991, with Nordheim as composer-in-residence at the
Aspen Music Festival - Colorado, Brevig introduced the Nordheim
works The Hunting of the Snark and the
Return of the Snark. After retiring from the
Metropolitan Opera in 1994, Per Brevig has continue to be active
in teaching and concertizing. He has also been active
as a conductor: in 2011, Per Brevig finished his nine-year
tenure as Music Director of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra
in Tyler, Texas.
David Langlitz was born in New York on February 8, 1953.
He studied at the Juilliard School gaining his BMus in 1975 and MMus
in 1976. Immediately following Juilliard, David Langlitz was appointed
Principal trombone of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra. This has been
a particularly active period for the orchestra, including extensive touring
in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Japan. He has
also been active in music festivals and in performance with the
Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. He has also studied film
directing and editing, and his first Angel Passing which he
wrote and directed, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won
a number of awards.
Demian Austin was born in Kentucky on August 26, 1970. After high school
Demian Austin studied at Oberlin College - Ohio BMus in 1992,
and at the Juilliard School MMus 1995. After being appointed
Principal trombone of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the
season, he was a founding member of the MET Chamber Ensemble.
Demian Austin teaches at the pre-college and college sections
of his alma mater, the Juilliard School. His violinist wife
Joanna Michelle Maurer, also a Juilliard graduate played with the
American Chamber Players in Washington DC.
Heylbut, Rose and Geuber, Aime. Backstage at the Opera.
Heylbut Press Reprinted 2007 ISBN 9781406755305
Berkowitz, David with Soyer, Dolores. Behind the Gold Curtain Birch
Brook Press. Delhi, NY. 1995 ISBN 0-913559-29-6
3 page 2.
Berkowitz, David with Soyer, Dolores. op. cit.
page 87 - 88. Berkowitz, David with Soyer, Dolores. op. cit.
page 80. Berkowitz, David with Soyer, Dolores. op. cit.
Heiles, Anne Mischakoff. Mischa Mischakoff: Journeys of
a Concertmaster. Detroit Monographs in
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Harmonie Park Press, 2006. ISBN 0-89990-131-X
page 283 - 284. Heiles, Anne Mischakoff. op. cit.
page 3. Tri-City Evening Star. Iowa.
October 27, 1904.
9 page 96.
Berkowitz, David with Soyer, Dolores. op. cit.
Fair, Demetra Baferos. Flutists’ Family Tree: In Search of the
American Flute School. Dissertation for Doctor of Musical
Arts in the Graduate School of The Ohio State University. 2003. Ohio
Fiedler, Johanna. Molto Agitato. The Mayhem Behind the
Music at the Metropolitan Opera. Anchor Books. New York
2001. ISBN 0-385-48187-X
Berdahl, Susan. Haynes, Haynes, and More Haynes.
The Woodwind Quarterly, Issue 1. Maple Valley, WA
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Flute: The Instrument, the Performer, the Music. Texas
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III number 19 November 28, 1887. Theatre Publishing
Chapter 19. Krehbiel, Henry Edward Chapters of
Opera, Being Historical and Critical Observations and Records
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to the Present TimeHenry Holt and Company,
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History and Encyclopedia of Music. Irving
Squire Company. New York. 1910
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der Trompete Instrument, Geschichte,
Trompeterlexikon. Schott. Mainz,
Germany. September, 2005. ISBN
page 151. Sacchi, Filippo. The Magic Baton: Toscanini's Life
for Music. G. P. Putnam's Sons. London. 1957.
page 14. The New York Times.
November 9, 1913.
Marcel Tabuteau "How Do You Expect to Play the Oboe If You Can't
Peel a Mushroom?". Indiana University Press.
Bloomington. 2008. ISBN-13 978-0-253-34949-1.
24 information from Thomas F. Wolfinger, great-grandson of
Carlos Hasselbrink, who is also researching Carlos Hasselbrink's life story.
25 page 534. Heiles, Anne Mischakoff.
Harmonie Park Press. Sterling Heights, MI. 2007. ISBN-13
Page 221.  Toff, Nancy. Monarch of the flute:
the life of Georges Barrère
Oxford University Press. New York 2005.
27 page 213. Sherman, John K.
Music and Maestros: The
Story of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. University of
Minnesota. Minneapolis. 1952.
28 page 94. The New York Times.
New York. December 17, 1922.
29 page 105-106. Berkowitz,
David with Soyer, Dolores. op. cit.
30 page 29.
Opera News. Volume 27.
Metropolitan Opera Guild. New York. 1962.
31 page 225. Hart, Philip.
Fritz Reiner: A Biography.
Northwestern University Press. 1997. ISBN-13 978-0810114630
32 page 367. Horowitz, Joseph. Classical Music in America: a History of its Rise and
Fall. W W Norton & Co. New York. 2005.
33 page 369. Horowitz, Joseph. Classical
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44 John Wion was Principal flute of
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has a wealth
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98 Berger, Kenneth Berger.
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117 Christine Ammer, Christine.
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126 Anderman, Joan. Where The Word Ends.
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131 Wise, Brian. Metropolitan Opera Hires
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June 30, 2013. referenced January, 2014.
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