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Rodzinski, Artur

Rodzinski, Artur

Rodzinski, Artur , eminent Polish-born American conductor; b. Spalato, Dalmatia, Jan. 1, 1892; d. Boston, Nov. 27, 1958. He studied jurisprudence at the Univ. of Vienna, and at the same time took lessons in piano with Sauer, composition with Schreker, and conducting with Schalk. He made his conducting debut in Lwów in 1920; subsequently conducted at the Warsaw Opera. In 1926 he was appointed asst. conductor to Stokowski with the Philadelphia Orch.; concurrently he was head of the opera and orch. depts. at the Curtis Inst. of Music. In 1929 he was appointed conductor of the Los Angeles Phil.; after 4 seasons there, he was engaged as conductor of the Cleveland Orch., where he introduced the novel custom of presenting operas in concert form; on Jan. 31, 1935, he conducted the American premiere of Shostakovich’s controversial opera Lady Macbeth of the District of Mtzensk. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1932. In 1943 he received his most prestigious appointment as conductor of the N.Y. Phil., but his independent character and temperamental ways of dealing with the management forced him to resign amid raging controversy in the middle of his 4th season (Feb. 3, 1947); almost immediately he was engaged as conductor of the Chicago Sym. Orch., but there, too, a conflict rapidly developed, and the management announced after a few months of the engagement that his contract would not be renewed, stating as a reason that his operatic ventures using the orch. were too costly. After these distressing American experiences, Rodzinski conducted mainly in Europe; in the autumn of 1958 he received an invitation to conduct at the Lyric Opera in Chicago, but after 3 performances of Tristan und Isolde (Nov. 1, 7, and 10), a heart ailment forced him to cancel his remaining appearances; he died in a Boston hospital.

Bibliography

H. Rodzinski, Our Two Lives (N.Y., 1976).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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