Priest of Music: The Life of Dimitri Mitropoulos

 
9780931340819: Priest of Music: The Life of Dimitri Mitropoulos

(Amadeus). Impeccably researched and written with a novelist's narrative mastery, this biography of the great conductor is a modern tragedy. Mitropoulos was a passionate advocate of difficult modern music and an early champion of Mahler; his emotionally charged performances brought the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra into the first rank of American orchestras. Generous and self-effacing, he was an innocent in the game of musical politics, unprepared for the intrigues and treachery in store when he became music director of the New York Philharmonic, "the orchestra that took no prisoners."

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From the Back Cover:

At the time of his death, Dimitri Mitropoulos (1896-1960) was considered one of the most brilliant conductors of the twentieth century. Yet within a decade, his achievements were largely forgotten. An ascetic and mystic throughout his life, Mitropoulos was attracted in his youth to the monastic life, and he brought the same fervent passion to music. He studied in Rome, Brussels, and Berlin, but his career flowered in his native Greece, where he developed his trademark style of conducting without a baton - or score. Success did not change his essential simplicity and boundless generosity, and he never aspired to the glamorous trappings of celebrity. His story unfolds against the rich backdrop of the Golden Age of conductors and reveals secret wars among musicians, patrons, promoters, and critics. Based upon extensive research by the late musicologist Oliver Daniel, this radiant account of a tragically noble and neglected giant promises to be the most important musical biography of the decade.

From Publishers Weekly:

Greek-born Mitropoulos (1896-1960) was one of the great American conductors of the midcentury, and it is astonishing how little his memory is regarded in his adopted land. Perhaps this obscurity is attributable partly to his self-effacing personality. His extraordinary musical gifts included an almost supernatural memory, a degree of involvement that transfigured players and audiences alike and a sense of duty to contemporary composers that made his concerts challenging and, to orchestra boards and old-time symphony subscribers, frequently daunting. His happiest years were spent in Minneapolis, but lack of careerist guile made him easy pickings in New York City: the critics were bewildered by him, the New York Philharmonic players were disrespectful of him and even his record company treated him badly. It did not help that he was homosexual and chose not to enter a cosmetic marriage. Music critic and novelist Trotter, who had access to the late Oliver Daniel's considerable research on Mitropoulos, has presented a compassionate, judicious and moving portrait of the conductor. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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