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Reflections of an American Composer$
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Arthur Berger

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520232518

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520232518.001.0001

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A Tale of Two Conductors: Koussevitzky and Mitropoulos

A Tale of Two Conductors: Koussevitzky and Mitropoulos

(p.209) 17 A Tale of Two Conductors: Koussevitzky and Mitropoulos
Reflections of an American Composer

Arthur Berger

University of California Press

The chapter addresses the contributions made by two orchestra conductors, Serge Koussevitzky and Dimitri Mitropoulos. Koussevitzky paid obeisance to the new music from Europe, but this did not keep him from his dedication to American music. He made Boston a tremendously exciting place musically, aligning himself with the creative talents of the region and actually making the city his home. His malapropisms provided a rich store of conversational material for the orchestral musicians whose normal dialogue leaned heavily on the supply of jokes. Conductors need charisma, as everyone knows, and they have to develop some semblance of it if they have none to start with. Koussevitzky was an individual who had somewhat more charisma than average. This enabled him to forestall the disapproval that would normally emanate from the conservative wing in reaction to his programming whereas Mitropoulos admittedly played a lesser role than Koussevitzky in advancing new music.

Keywords:   conductors, American music, musicians, malapropisms, Serge Koussevitzky, Dimitri Mitropoulos

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