Italian-American organist and composer Melchiorre Mauro-Cottone (1883-1938) came to the United States, where he enjoyed a distinguished career as a performer, most notably as the organist for the Philharmonic Society of New York for many years.
Born in Palermo, Italy, he initially studied with his father, Antonio Mauro, who, like his own father, was an organist and composer. Melchiorre became organist at the Church of San Carlo Borromeo in Palermo at the age of twelve. He came to United States in 1905 and made his New York concert debut at Mendelssohn Hall in 1910. Although his connection with the Philharmonic was highly prestigious, as the orchestra's organist, Mauro-Cottone had only infrequent performances and was constantly seeking additional work to support his family, which included his wife, Rose Mauro-Cottone, and two daughters, Gina and Aurora (who later became a concert pianist). Throughout his career, Mauro-Cottone served as organist and choirmaster for various churches and religious institutions in New York, including the Spanish Church (Nuestra Señora de Esperanza), St. Ignatius Loyola Roman Catholic Church, and the Central Synagogue. He also enjoyed a ten-year association with the Capitol Theatre in New York, during the tenure of Samuel Rothafel. Additionally, Mauro-Cottone gave private piano lessons out of his home and spent several years developing a piano tutorial manual for which he unsuccessfully sought a publisher. In his later years, Mauro-Cottone was anxious to find a permanent position with a church or educational institution and moved his family to New London, Connecticut to become organist at St. Mary, Star of the Sea. Shortly before his sudden death in 1938, he was engaged as the organist for the Church of the Holy Trinity on West 83rd Street in New York. Mauro-Cottone was a prolific composer and arranger; perhaps the best known of his original compositions were two Masses, a collection of motets, and Christmas songs.
From the description of Melchiorre Mauro-Cottone papers, 1874-1982. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 85221607
Melchiorre Mauro-Cottone was born in Palermo, Italy, in 1883, and died in New York City on September 29th 1938. He studied under his grandfather and father Antonio Mauro, who were both organists and composers. He became organist at the Church of San Carlo Borromeo at the age of twelve. At fifteen he was made organist at St Joseph's Church, also in Palermo. He assisted his father as organist and choirmaster at the Pantheon, Church of the Dominican Fathers, and as teacher at the Royal Conservatory. He became director of the Schola Cantorum Pius X when he was eighteen.
Mauro-Cottone came to America in 1905 to serve as featured recitalist at the Roxy Theatre in New York City. He performed at Mandelssohn Hall in 1910 and served as organist and choirmaster at various Churches, including the Spanish Church, St. Francis Xavier R.C. Church and St. Ignatius Loyola. He also spent some time with the New York Central Synagogue. In 1926, after he had been a guest at the Sesquicentennial Exposition in Philadelphia, King Victor Emmanuel made him Chevalier of the Crown of Italy.
The Italian organist M.E. Bossi's American debut was accompanied by Mauro-Cottone's conducting of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He conducted the same orchestra for the Henry Savage Opera Company's premier of The Girl of the Golden West. He also taught piano at is Manhattan home. His original compositions include two Masses and several motets that are widely known throughout the United States.
From the guide to the Melchiorre Mauro-Cottone papers, 1874-1982, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)