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Sad news: A grand French maestro has died


Louis Frémaux was born in Aire-sur-la-Lys, France and came from an artistic background; his father was a painter, and his wife was a music teacher. He studied music at the conservatoire in Valenciennes, but his studies were interrupted by the Second World War, when he joined the French Resistance; at the end of the war he was commissioned in the French Foreign Legion and was posted to Vietnam in 1945-46. He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1947, studied under Louis Fourestier and Jacques Chailley, and graduated in 1952 with a first prize in conducting. Frémaux worked with the orchestra of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, after having been released from the French Foreign Legion (to which he had been recalled for service in Algeria) at the request of Prince Rainier. For ten years he helped build the reputation of the Monte Carlo orchestra, as well as conducting opera premieres there. He was the first music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique Rhône-Alpes (later the Orchestre National de Lyon), from 1969 to 1971.

WIKIPEDIA


VIDEO: Beethoven Symphony No 7; Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Louis Fremaux



Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Minnesota Orchestra's conductor laureate, dies at 93

Stanisław Skrowaczewski (October 3, 1923 – February 21, 2017) was a Polish-American classical conductor and composer. Skrowaczewski was born in Lwów (then in Poland, now in Ukraine). As a child, he studied piano and violin; displaying talent on the piano at an early age, he made his public debut playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor. A hand injury ended his piano career.

After World War II, Skrowaczewski graduated from the Academy of Music in Kraków (in the composition class of Roman Palester and conducting class of Walerian Bierdiajew) and soon, in 1946, became the music director of the Wrocław Philharmonic, then the Katowice Philharmonic, the Kraków Philharmonic and finally the Warsaw National Orchestra. He studied composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. In 1956 he won the Santa Cecilia Competition for Conductors.

At the invitation of George Szell, Skrowaczewski conducted the Cleveland Orchestra. In 1960 he was appointed music director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (later renamed the Minnesota Orchestra under his tenure in 1968), a position he held until 1979 when he became conductor laureate. In 1981 the American Composers Forum commissioned the Clarinet Concerto which Skrowaczewski wrote for Minnesota Orchestra principal clarinetist Joe Longo, who premiered it in 1981.WIKIPEDIA




Nicolai Gedda has died, aged 91

Nicolai Gedda (born Harry Gustaf Nikolai Gädda) (11 July 1925 – 8 January 2017) was a Swedish operatic tenor. Debuting in 1952, Gedda had a long and successful career in opera until the age of 77 in June 2003, when he made his final operatic recording. Skilled at languages, he performed operas in French, Russian, German, Italian, English, Czech, and Swedish; as well as one in Latin. In January 1958, he created the part of Anatol in the world premiere of the American opera Vanessa at the Metropolitan Opera. Having made some two hundred recordings, Gedda is one of the most widely recorded opera singers in history...over 200. His singing is best known for its beauty of tone, vocal control, and musical perception.


WIKIPEDIA


VIDEO...Nicolai and Tania Gedda in Lippen schweigen, The Merry Widow



Gervase de Peyer (11 April 1926 – 4 February 2017)

De Peyer was born in London and attended Bedales School. He was awarded a scholarship to the
Royal College of Music where he studied clarinet with Frederick Thurston and piano with Arthur Alexander. Towards the end of World War II, when he was aged 18, he joined the Royal Marines Band Service. De Peyer returned to the Royal College of Music after the war and subsequently studied in Paris with Louis Cahuzac.
WIKIPEDIA
VIDEO:





Roberta Peters (May 4, 1930 – January 18, 2017) was an American coloratura soprano.

One of the most prominent American singers to achieve lasting fame and success in opera, Peters is noted for her 35-year association with the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York, among the longest such associations between a singer and a company in opera. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1998.

WIKIPEDIA
NYTimes Obit

VIDEO: The outstanding American soprano Roberta Peters (Bronx born, Roberta Peterman) in a series of clips from some of her most memorable operatic performances.


French maestro conductor Georges Pretre dies at 92


Prêtre was born in Waziers (Nord), and attended the Douai Conservatory and then studied harmony under Maurice Duruflé and conducting under André Cluytens among others at the Conservatoire de Paris. Amongst his early musical interests were jazz and trumpet. After graduating, he conducted in a number of small French opera houses sometimes under the pseudonym Georges Dherain. His conducting debut was at the Opéra de Marseille in 1946. He also conducted at the opera houses in Lille and Toulouse. His Paris debut was at the Opéra-Comique in Richard Strauss's Capriccio. He was director of the Opéra-Comique 1955–1959. He conducted at the Lyric Opera of Chicago 1959–1971. He was conductor, 1959, and music director 1970–1971, at the Paris Opéra. He was principal conductor of the Vienna Symphony 1986–1991.

WIKIPEDIA

VIDEO: Georges Prêtre conducts Ravel's Boléro
Rai National Symphony Orchestra (Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai) at his first symphonic concert.
Turin, 1994






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