Text Box: Conductor autographs


Price: $400.00


Autographed 8” x 10” matte Hass New York, double-weight sepia photograph, 1938. Autographed during his first season with the Minnesota Orchestra.

Mitropoulos (1896-1960) was concertizing as a pianist in Europe and South America performing the Prokofiev 3rd Piano Concerto in an overtly dramatic way.  Prokofiev heard about the performances from some friends and was not pleased with the reports.  The conductor was also conducting by then and did not have the intestinal fortitude to perform the work while conducting from the piano.  In 1935, he finally scheduled a performance in Paris as pianist-conductor.  Prokofiev, in Paris and curious decided to attend. According to William R. Trotter in his Priest of Music, The Life of Dimitri Mitropoulos, p. 77, “Prokofiev turned to his companion and said, above thunderous applause: Well, Mitropoulos has taken it over completely, I guess I’ll have to write another concerto for myself”. 

Serge Koussevitzky, well established as the Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra was sent press clippings of the performance through his publishing house in Paris and decided the novelty of a Greek conductor with rave reviews would be an excellent choice for some engagements in Boston during one of his respites.  Mitropoulos made his BSO debut on January 21, 1936 in Providence, Rhode Island.  He then led a series of concerts from January 24th through February 1st at Symphony Hall in Boston to rave reviews.  The Prokofiev concerto was not performed, though his arrangement of the Bach Organ Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor for orchestra was performed as part of his final two concerts.  Interestingly he conducted the Mahler 1st Symphony during two of the concerts.  His success led to his leading 6 concerts the following January.  A young Leonard Bernstein, then at Harvard attended one of the concerts and was deeply moved by the performance and was able to arrange a lunch with the conductor who became his first mentor. 

Eugene Ormandy at this time was the Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra.  He had built a regional band into a more important regional American orchestra between 1931 to 1936 and broke his contract in Minnesota to become the new Principal Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra whilst Leopold Stokowski who was having issues with the board held onto the Music Director title.  Mitropoulos was hired for one guest performance and left Boston at the end of his six concert run in January 1937 and went to Minnesota, arriving three days before his January 27, 1937 debut.  The audience was rapturous after the performance and ten days after he left Minneapolis, it was announced during a concert he had been hired as the next Music Director.  Due to his obligations at the Athens Conservatory, he did not begin his tenure until January 7, 1938.  While there was some worry Mitropoulos would leave within a few years for a more important post, he surprised the board by remaining until 1949 when he was hired by the New York Philharmonic.  During those years he built the orchestra into one of the leading orchestras in the country.  His recordings of the period with the orchestra on the Mercury label have stood the test of time!

As early an autographed photograph of the conductor as you will likely see.




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