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Abravanel,Maurice

music city sym conductor

Abravanel, Maurice, distinguished Greek-born American conductor of Spanish-Portuguese Sephardic descent; b. Saloniki, Jan. 6, 1903; d. Salt Lake City, Sept. 22, 1993. He attended the univs. of Lausanne (1919–21) and Zürich (1921–22) before studying composition in Berlin with Kurt Weill. In 1924 he made his conducting debut in Berlin, and then conducted widely in Germany until he was compelled to go to Paris by the advent of the Nazis in 1933. After touring Australia (1934–36), he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. conducting Samson et Dolila on Dec. 26, 1936, remaining on its roster until 1938; then conducted on Broadway. In 1940–41 he was a conductor at the Chicago Opera. In 1947 he became music director of the Utah Sym. Orch. in Salt Lake City, which, by the time of his retirement in 1979, he had molded into one of the finest U.S. orchs. He also served as artistic director of the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara from 1954 to 1980. From 1982 he was active at the Tanglewood Music Center. On his 90 th birthday on Jan. 6, 1993, the Utah Sym. Orch.’s concert hall was renamed in his honor.

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