Price: $300.00

Autographed and inscribed 11” x 14” (mount) fine art quality presentation photograph of the conductor and powerful Music Director of the Victor Talking Machine Company, Chicago, 1914; to the General Mananger of the Ravinia Park Festival Arthur Lowrie.  The photograph was taken by the conductor’s brother David who has signed at the bottom right with his initials at the bottom right in red and then again on the mount and notes N.Y.


Pasternack (1878-1940) was born in Poland.  Both his Grandfather and Father were bandmasters.  He initially learned to play the violin as a child and also was proficient in the piano.  At the Warsaw Conservatory he studied piano with Aleksander Michalowski who had studied with the Leipzig gang (Moscheles, Reinecke etc.) and then finished with Chopin’s pupil Mikkuli.  He also studied composition with composer Zygmunt Nozkowski.  He arrived in New York City in 1896 and then the stories about how he became a professional musician in the United States varies.  One good source said he initially started his life in the United States as a concert pianist and made tours and then decided to settle in New York, stop travelling and went back to the violin, obtaining a position as a violist at the Metropolitan Opera.  Another story says he was a hotel errand boy and filled in for an ailing violinist in the hotel orchestra and his career went from there.  Another said he played in various hotel and pit orchestras upon his arrival.  Come to mention it, his year of birth is also subject of speculation, 1878, 1880 and 1881.  The New York court document for his naturalization in 1900 give his birth year as 1878.


In 1902, Pasternack did take a position in the viola section of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.  In 1903 he was made Principal Violist of the orchestra and on the side performed in the orchestra of the Victor Talking Machine Company in their New York City and Camden, New Jersey “labs”.  He made one solo viol d’amore performance at a Sunday night concert at the Metropolitan Opera in 1906.  He was appointed an Assistant Conductor in 1910 at Toscanini’s request and began conducting Sunday night concerts, which often included world famous instrumentalists in addition to the house singers.  In 1911 he conducted a Ballet divertissement during a regular performance of “Il Trovatore” at the Metropolitan Opera and he began to conduct them regularly along with the Sunday and sometime Saturday night concerts there.  His last appearance as a conductor at the Metropolitan Opera was on April 4, 1912 where he conducted the concert and a performance of Monteverdi’s “L’Orfeo”.  He went to Bremen Germany in 1911 to conduct the Bremen Opera, however, the Metropolitan opera demanded his return.  After the 1912 season he went on to become the conductor of the brand new Century Opera Company in 1913 which was an Otto Kahn project whilst he was the Chairman of the Metropolitan Opera Board from 1908 - 1934, so it is interesting he was involved with a competing outfit. Pasternack remained a conductor of the Century Opera until 1926. In 1914 he began an association with the Ravinia Park Festival where he conducted both opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts for many years. For several seasons. He also conducted all 17 of the Boston Pops concerts in 1916.  The same year he joined the Victor Talking Company as a conductor and also the executive in charge of hiring talent for the various Victor ensembles they utilized for recordings in a variety of genres.  During this time, he conducted most of the Caruso records issued between 1916 the end of his life in 1921.  In 1920 Pasternack was named Music Director of Victor.  A position he shared with Rosario Bourdon who tended to conduct more of the current music whilst Pasternack conducted the opera singers. In the 1920’s, Pasternack spent five years as Music Director of the amateur Philadelphia Philharmonic.  In 1925 they sponsored a contest which was won by Marian Anderson and Pasternack launched her career conducting a concert with her. He also conducted a concert with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra that year for Victor. Pasternack left Victor in 1928 to pursue radio broadcast conducting.  The last twelve years of his life were spent conducting radio broadcasts for NBC, where while conducting a rehearsal in Chicago of an NBC orchestra in 1940, he suffered a massive heart attack whilst conducting and died.  The New York Times obituary on April 30, 1940 read “Pasternack Dies Wielding Baton”.  On May 3rd, 1940 the New York Times printed a follow-up stating 200 people attended his funeral service including “musical luminaries”.


A rare and rather spectacular image of the important conductor.





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