A Tale of Two Conductors: Koussevitzky and Mitropoulos

Arthur Berger

in Reflections of an American Composer

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780520232518
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928213 | DOI:
A Tale of Two Conductors: Koussevitzky and Mitropoulos

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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

Chapter.  4696 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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