Abravanel, Maurice, 1903-1993.

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Conductor of the Utah Symphony.

From the description of Interviews, 1981. (Utah Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 122415000

Conductor. Abravanel (1903-1993) was born in Greece and grew up in Switzerland. He became a music theory student of Kurt Weill in 1922 in Berlin, and studied with him for a year. He and Weill remained good friends. When Abravanel became a conductor, Weill preferred him as a conductor of his own works; Abravanel conducted the premiere of Die sieben Todsünden in Paris in 1933. He went on to conduct for two years in Australia and one year at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, at which point Weill asked him to conduct his new Broadway musical, Knickerbocker holiday (1938). Their relationship continued as Abravanel conducted all of Weill's shows through Street scene (1947). That year, Abravanel moved on to the Utah Symphony Orchestra, where he served as musical director until 1979, becoming known as one of America's greatest teachers, orchestra builders, and conductors.

From the description of Papers of Maurice Abravanel relating to Kurt Weill in the collections of the University of Utah, 1926-1983. (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison). WorldCat record id: 122488514

Greek-born American conductor and close associate of Kurt Weill in Germany and the U.S.

From the description of An oral history interview with Maurice Abravanel / conducted for the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music by David Farneth and Lys Symonette, Tanglewood, 1984 August 8 : recording and transcript. (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison). WorldCat record id: 122583680

From the description of An oral history interview with Maurice Abravanel / conducted for the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music by David Farneth and Lys Symonette, Tanglewood, 1984 August 7 : recording and transcript. (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison). WorldCat record id: 122469653

From the description of An oral history interview with Maurice Abravanel / conducted for the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music by Armen Guzelimian and Alan Rich, Los Angeles, 1978 August 23 : recording and transcript. (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison). WorldCat record id: 122469641

From the description of An oral history interview with Maurice Abravanel / conducted for the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music by Donald Spoto and Lys Symonette, New York, NY?, 1985? : recording and transcript. (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison). WorldCat record id: 152675386

From the description of An oral history interview with Maurice Abravanel / conducted for the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music by Alan Rich, Kim Kowalke, and Lys Symonette, Tanglewood, 1982 August 26 : recording and transcript. (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison). WorldCat record id: 122460320

Utah Symphony Orchestra , 1960s.

Epithet: conductor

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000472.0x00034b

For more than three decades, the names of Maurice Abravanel (1903-1993) and the Utah Symphony were virtually synonymous. Born in Greece of Spanish and Portuguese parents, he was raised in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he first conducted at the age of 16.

Abravanel studied in Berlin with Kurt Weill, later enjoying a close collaboration with the composer which led to conducting the world premieres of all of Weill's American productions. After debuts in Europe at renowned houses including the Berlin State Opera and Paris Opera, Abravanel was engaged in 1936 to conduct the Metropolitan Opera--the youngest conductor ever to step to its podium.

His tenure as Music Director of the Utah Symphony lasted from 1947 until 1979, when he retired for health reasons. Under Abravanel's leadership, the Utah Symphony grew from a part-time, community ensemble into one of the finest and most respected orchestras in the country.

A perfectionist who was relentless in his quest for artistic excellence, Abravanel was a constant source of inspiration to the musicians and staff. He strove to share great music with an entire spectrum of listeners: students from grade school through college, rural Utah residents, subscribers who never missed a concert, and music lovers throughout the state, country and international capitals.

He led the Utah Symphony on four triumphant international tours. Under his direction, the orchestra performed in concert halls of major cities across the country, and brought music to audiences large and small in all corners of Utah and the southwestern region.

Abravanel is credited as being one of the outstanding interpreters of Mahler and Bruckner, championing their works in this country at a time when few others believed in their now-indisputable compositional genius. His recordings of all the Mahler symphonies are regarded as classics, as are many of his other Utah Symphony recordings on labels including Vanguard, Vox, Angel and CBS.

In addition to his passion for the Utah Symphony, Abravanel found time and limitless enthusiasm to promote other arts. In the 1950s, he encouraged choreographer Willam Christensen to return to his native Utah to form a dance department at the University of Utah, which has since evolved into Ballet West. There began a collaboration between orchestra and ballet that started with "The Nutcracker" and continues today. The Symphony maintains a similar relationship with Utah Opera.

Maestro Abravanel was for many years associated with the music department of the University of Utah, where numerous Utah Symphony members received their training. Between 1956 and 1979 he directed the prestigious Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, many of whose participants later joined the Utah Symphony and other top orchestra.

Maestro Abravanel has had three musical auditoriums named in his honor: at the Music Academy of the West; at Oceanside, California; and most recently in Brookhaven, Long Island.

Still a vital force in the music world, Abravanel is artist-in-residence, and in 1982 was director of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 1985, he was the only member of that faculty to receive an appointment for life. Countless Tanglewood students consider Abravanel an indispensible presence at the school.

He was vice chairman of the American Symphony Orchestra League, and received the ASOL's Gold Baton Award in 1981. He is a permanent advisor to that organization, participates in its conductor's workshops, and is a frequent judge at competitions for conductors, pianists, and violinists.

President Nixon appointed Abravanel to serve on the National Council of the National Endowment for the Arts and he has been a board member of the Utah Arts Council since 1979. In 1987 he won the first annual Richard D. Bass Achievement Award.

Included among his many awards and honors are a Tony award for "Regina," (The Little Foxes), Grammy nominations for a recording of Honegger's King David, for Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, and for Bloch's Sacred Service. He has received honorary doctorates from several institutions, including the University of Utah, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Utah State University and Weber State College.

This biography is a reprint from the Utah Symphony program of January 8 and 9, 1988, and is used courtesy of Utah Symphony.

Maurice Abravanel died in Salt Lake City on 22 September 1993.

From the guide to the Maurice Abravanel papers, 1890-1996, (J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Abravanel, Maurice, 1903-1993. Papers of Maurice Abravanel relating to Kurt Weill in the collections of the University of Utah, 1926-1983. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
creatorOf Maurice Abravanel papers, 1890-1996 J. Willard Marriott Library, University of UtahManuscripts Division
referencedIn Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. Oral history collection, 1983-1986. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Jolowicz, Anneliese, collector. Materials documenting the production of Kurt Weill's Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Staatstheater in Kassel, 1930, 1929-1979 (bulk 1929-1930). Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
creatorOf Čajkovskij, Petr Ilʹič, 1840-1893. Francesca da Rimini, opus 32 [Multimédia multisupport] / Piotre Ilitch Tchaïkovski, comp. ; Orchestre Symphonique de L'Utah, orch. ; Maurice Abravanel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Brecht, Bertolt, 1898-1956. Music sources for Kurt Weill's Mahagonny Songspiel in the collection of the Weill-Lenya Research Center, 1927-[ongoing]. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
creatorOf Čajkovskij, Petr Ilʹič, 1840-1893. La marche slave, opus 31 / Piotre Ilitch Tchaïkovski, comp. ; Orchestre Symphonique de L'Utah, orch. ; Maurice Abravanel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Grieg, Edvard, 1843-1907. Peer Gynt, suites d'orchestre n °1 et n °2 [Multimédia multisupport] / Edvard Grieg, comp. ; Orchestre symphonique de l'Utah ; Maurice Abranavel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Čajkovskij, Petr Ilʹič, 1840-1893. L'ouverture "1812", opus 49 [Multimédia multisupport] / Piotre Ilitch Tchaïkovski, comp. ; Orchestre Symphonique de l'Utah ; Maurice Abravanel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Miklos Rozsa Papers, 1918-1996 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Raksin, David, 1912-. David Raksin: an oral history interview with Peggy Mayer Sherry for the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Weill-Lenya Research Center, Van Nuys, CA, 1991 Oct. 2. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
referencedIn Maurice Abravanel collection, [ca. 1951-ongoing]. Museum of Performance & Design
referencedIn Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950. The papers of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, 1890-1984 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Satie, Erik, 1866-1925. Gymnopédie n °3 (orchestration de Debussy) [Multimédia multisupport] / Erik Satie, comp. ; Utah Symphony Orchestra ; Maurice Abravanel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Conductors' Guild (American Symphony Orchestra League). Correspondence with Eugene Ormandy, 1975-1983. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Kelen, Leslie,. In our time. Utah Division of State History, Utah Historical Society
referencedIn Leroy J. Robertson music recordings, 1920s-1970s J. Willard Marriott Library, University of UtahAudio Visual Archives
creatorOf Grieg, Edvard, 1843-1907. Peer Gynt, suites d'orchestre n °1 et n °2 [Multimédia multisupport] / Edvard Grieg, comp. ; Orchestre symphonique de l'Utah ; Maurice Abranavel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Maurice Abravanel photograph collection, 1920s-1990s J. Willard Marriott Library, University of UtahPhotograph Archives
creatorOf Čajkovskij, Petr Ilʹič, 1840-1893. Francesca da Rimini, opus 32 / Piotre Ilitch Tchaïkovski, comp. ; Orchestre Symphonique de L'Utah, orch. ; Maurice Abravanel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Atkins, Irene Kahn, 1922-. Major figures in American music [A-E] : [oral history]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950. Weill-Lenya correspondence, 1925-1948. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
referencedIn Thomson, Virgil, 1896-1989. The Virgil Thomson papers, 1804-1990 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950. Correspondence, 1920-1950. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
referencedIn Olivia Mattis Collection, 1988-1990 Archive of Recorded Sound
creatorOf Grieg, Edvard, 1843-1907. Concerto pour piano en la mineur, opus 16 [Multimédia multisupport] / Edvard Grieg, comp. ; Grant Johannesen, p ; Orchestre symphonique de l'Utah ; Maurice Abravanel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Čajkovskij, Petr Ilʹič, 1840-1893. L'ouverture "1812", opus 49 / Piotre Ilitch Tchaïkovski, comp. ; Orchestre Symphonique de l'Utah ; Maurice Abravanel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Čajkovskij, Petr Ilʹič, 1840-1893. La marche slave, opus 31 [Multimédia multisupport] / Piotre Ilitch Tchaïkovski, comp. ; Orchestre Symphonique de L'Utah, orch. ; Maurice Abravanel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950. General correspondence, [ca. 1925]-1950. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Kaufman, Annette,. Oral history interviews with Annette Kaufman, undated [sound recording]. American Primers
referencedIn Lowell M. Durham papers, 1920-1994 L. Tom Perry Special Collections20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
creatorOf Satie, Erik, 1866-1925. Gymnopédie n °3 (orchestration de Debussy) [Multimédia multisupport] / Erik Satie, comp. ; Utah Symphony Orchestra ; Maurice Abravanel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Ursula Vaughan Williams correspondence: Abravanel-Cruft, 1958-2001 British Library
referencedIn Abravanel, Maurice, 1903-1993. Papers of Maurice Abravanel relating to Kurt Weill in the collections of the University of Utah, 1926-1983. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
creatorOf Abravanel, Maurice, 1903-1993,. An oral history interview with Maurice Abravanel / conducted for the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music by David Farneth and Lys Symonette, Tanglewood, 1984 August 8 : recording and transcript. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
creatorOf Abravanel, Maurice, 1903-1993,. An oral history interview with Maurice Abravanel / conducted for the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music by David Farneth and Lys Symonette, Tanglewood, 1984 August 7 : recording and transcript. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
creatorOf Abravanel, Maurice, 1903-1993,. An oral history interview with Maurice Abravanel / conducted for the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music by Alan Rich, Kim Kowalke, and Lys Symonette, Tanglewood, 1982 August 26 : recording and transcript. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
referencedIn Ambassador Auditorium Collection, 1974-1995 Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries
referencedIn Thomson, Virgil, 1896-1989. The Virgil Thomson papers, 1804-1990 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Grieg, Edvard, 1843-1907. Concerto pour piano en la mineur, opus 16 [Multimédia multisupport] / Edvard Grieg, comp. ; Grant Johannesen, p ; Orchestre symphonique de l'Utah ; Maurice Abravanel, dir. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Ronald Sanders papers, 1951-1994 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Abravanel, Maurice, 1903-1993,. An oral history interview with Maurice Abravanel / conducted for the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music by Armen Guzelimian and Alan Rich, Los Angeles, 1978 August 23 : recording and transcript. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
referencedIn Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950. The papers of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, 1890-1984 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950. Weill-collaborators correspondence, 1925-1950. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Abravanel, Maurice, 1903-1993,. An oral history interview with Maurice Abravanel / conducted for the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music by Donald Spoto and Lys Symonette, New York, NY?, 1985? : recording and transcript. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
referencedIn Utah Symphony photograph collection, circa 1950-1970 J. Willard Marriott Library, University of UtahPhotograph Archives
creatorOf Abravanel, Maurice. Interviews, 1981. Utah Division of State History, Utah Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Abravanel Hall (Salt Lake City, Utah) corporateBody
associatedWith Abravanel, Maurice, 1903- person
associatedWith Anderson, Maxwell, 1888-1959. person
associatedWith Blitzstein, Marc, 1905-1964. person
associatedWith Brecht, Bertolt, 1898-1956. person
associatedWith Conductors' Guild (American Symphony Orchestra League). corporateBody
associatedWith Durham, Lowell M. person
associatedWith Farneth, David. person
associatedWith Guzelimian, Armen. person
associatedWith Hallett, Judy, person
associatedWith Haymond, Jay M., person
associatedWith Honegger, Arthur, 1892-1955. person
associatedWith Jolowicz, Anneliese, collector. person
associatedWith Kaufman, Annette, person
associatedWith Kelen, Leslie, person
associatedWith Kowalke, Kim H., 1948- person
associatedWith Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. corporateBody
associatedWith Lenya, Lotte, 1898-1981. person
associatedWith Mahler, Gustav, 1860-1911. person
associatedWith Mattis, Olivia person
associatedWith Raksin, David, 1912- person
associatedWith Rich, Alan. person
associatedWith Robertson, Leroy J. person
associatedWith Rózsa, Miklós, 1907-1995 person
associatedWith Sanders, Ronald person
associatedWith Spoto, Donald, 1941-. person
associatedWith Stratas, Teresa. person
associatedWith Strauss, Richard, 1864-1949. person
associatedWith Symonette, Lys. person
associatedWith Thomson, Virgil, 1896-1989. person
associatedWith Utah Symphony Orchestra. corporateBody
associatedWith Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Utah
United States
United States
Subject
Music--Instruction and study
Symphony orchestras--Utah--Salt Lake City--History--Sources
Music
Concerts--Program building
Conductors (Music)
Musical theater
Material Types
Conductors (Music)--Utah--Salt Lake City
Symphony orchestras
Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
Conducting
Instrumentation and orchestration
Occupation
Conductor
Collector
Function

Person

Birth 1903-01-06

Death 1993-09-22

Americans

French,

English,

German

Information

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