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Monday, 20 January 2014


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Martin Bookspan

I have to take exception to your statement that no conductor before Abbado created orchestras of young people. When Koussevitzky created Tanglewood in 1940, he brought together the brightest instrumentalists from America's conservatories and universities and created the Berkshire Festival Orchestra. This remarkable orchestra was re-created each summer in 1941 and 1942---and it was with the 1942 edition of the orchestra that Koussevitzky conducted the American concert hall premiere of Shostakovich's 7th Symphony. The War cancelled the Tanglewood seasons of 1943-45 But Tanglewood resumed full scale activities in the summer of 1946. One of the highlights of that summer was the American premiere of Britten's "Peter Grimes" (which Koussevitzky had commissioned!), with a cast of young singers including Phyllis Curtin and David Lloyd, and the extraordinary orchestra of the young players of the Berkshire Festival conducted by Koussevitzky's brilliant young protege, Leonard Bernstein .

Andrew  Patner

Martin, thank you! I think that what Mr Barenboim meant was orchestras of young professionals as ongoing entities. Certainly Tanglewood and its important history should not go unnoticed!

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