Mauro-Cottone, Melchiorre, 1885-1938

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.


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2016-08-09 02:08:42 pm

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