Mester, Jorge, Hungarian-American conductor and teacher; b. Mexico City (of Hungarian parents), April 10, 1935. He settled in the U.S. and became a naturalized American citizen in 1968. He studied with Morel at the Juilliard School of Music in N.Y. (M.A., 1958), and also with Bernstein at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood (summer, 1955) and with A. Wolff in the Netherlands. From 1956 to 1967 he taught conducting at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1967 he was appointed music director of the Louisville Orch., holding this post until 1979. Following the Louisville Orch’s unique policy of commissioning new works and then giving their premieres, Mester conducted, during his tenure, something like 200 first performances, and made about 70 recordings of some of them. Concurrently, he served as musical adviser and principal conductor of the Kansas City Phil. (1971–74). In 1970 he became music director of the Aspen (Colo.) Music Festival. From 1980 he again taught at the Juilliard School, where he was chairman of the conducting dept. (1984–87). In 1984 he became music director of the Pasadena (Calif.) Sym. Orch. He also was concurrently music director of the West Australian Sym. Orch. in Perth (1990–93). From 1999 he was music director of the Filarmónica de la Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City. Equally at home in the classical and modern repertoires, in symphonic music and in opera, Mester knows how to impart a sense of color with a precision of technical detail.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire