Comet, Catherine, French conductor; b. Fontainebleau, Dec. 6, 1944. She studied at the Paris Cons. (1958–63), where she took a premier prix in piano; concurrently received private training in analysis, harmony, counterpoint, and fugue from Boulanger before pursuing conducting studies with Morel at the Juilliard School of Music N.Y (1964–68), where she received B.A. and M.A. degrees. In 1966 she won first prize in the Besançon conducting competition, and in 1967 she made her professional conducting debut with the Lille Radio Sym. Orch. at the Besançon Festival. In 1970–71 she was an assistant to Boulez with the BBC Sym. Orch. in London. She was conductor of the Paris Opéra Ballet from 1972 to 1975; from 1979 to 1981 she was music director of the Univ. of Wise. sym. and chamber orchs. in Madison. After serving as the Exxon-Arts Endowment Conductor of the St. Louis Sym. Orch. (1981–84), she was assoc. conductor of the Baltimore Sym. Orch. (1984–86). In 1986 she became music director of the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Sym. Orch. In 1988 she was named co-recipient of the Seaver/NEA Conductors Award. From 1990 to 1992 she was music director of the American Sym. Orch. in N.Y. Comet has appeared with fine success as a guest conductor with principal North American orchs., including those of Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire