Maurice Abravanel Biography (1903-1993)
Born January 6, 1903, in Salonica, Greece; came to the United States, 1936; died September 22, 1993, in Salt Lake City, UT. Music director and conductor.At the age of sixteen, Abravanel was encouraged by a neighbor, conductor Ernest Ansermet, to abandon thoughts of a career in medicine in order to study music. After instruction from composer Kurt Weill, Abravanel became a conductorand led orchestras in several German cities through the early 1930s. As a member of the Jewish faith, however, Abravanel moved to the United States whenAdolf Hitler rose to power with the Nazi party. After bolstering his reputation as music director of the George Balanchine Ballet, Abravanel in 1936 became a the youngest full-time conductor ever to be hired by the New York Metropolitan Opera. He broke ties with the Met two years later after a dispute withmanagement, but went on to serve as music director of Broadway productions ofOne Touch of Venus and Lady in the Dark. In the late 1940s, Abravanel movedto Salt Lake City, Utah, where he became conductor of the state symphony orchestra. Under Abravanel's musical direction, which ran nearly thirty years, symphonic performances gained the highest per capita attendance of any state inAmerica. During his career he became well-known for his interpretations of the music of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler. He received the National Medal of the Arts from President George Bush and Barbara Bush in 1991, and he was the recipient of the Theodor Thomas award from the Conductors Guild in 1992. Hetaught students at the Tanglewood Festival in Massachusetts for a number ofsummers before his death.
- music director, conductor
- Birth Details
- January 6, 1903
- Salonica, Greece
- Death Details
- September 22, 1993
- Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
- Who's Who in America, 48th edition, Marquis, 1994.
- Times (London), October 22, 1993, p. 23.