Shanet, Howard

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Shanet, Howard

Shanet, Howard, American conductor; b. N.Y., Nov. 9, 1918. He studied cello with Evsei Beloussoff, played in the National Orch. Assn., under the direction of Barzin, and later studied conducting with Rudolph Thomas and Stiedry, and at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood with Koussevitzky; also took composition lessons with Weisse, Dessau, Martinû, Lopatnikoff, and Honegger. He completed his academic studies at Columbia Univ. (A.B., 1939; A.M., 1941). He taught at Hunter Coll. in N.Y. (1941–42). After serving in the U.S. Army as a warrant officer and bandleader (1942–46), he again taught at Hunter Coll. (1946–53); also was on the staff at the Berkshire Music Center (summers, 1949–52). In 1953 he was appointed to the faculty of Columbia Univ. and as conductor of the Univ. Orch. and asst. (later full) prof. of music, which led to his designation as Director of Music Performance in 1978; in 1989 he was named Professor Emeritus. He served as asst. conductor of the N.Y.C. Sym. (1947–48), conductor of the Huntington (W.Va.) Sym. Orch. (1951–53), and a guest conductor with the Israel Phil. (1950) and the N.Y. Phil. (1951, 1959). In 1977 he received the presidential citation of the National Federation of Music Clubs and a certificate of distinguished service from the Inst. of International Education; in 1990 he was invited by the Coll. of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia Univ. to give the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities, the first musician to be accorded that honor. He composed Allegro Giocoso for String Quartet (1942; also for String Orch., 1987), A War March for Military Band (1944), Introduction and Fugue for Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1947), 2 Canonic Pieces for 2 Clarinets (1947), and Variations on a Bizarre Theme for Orch. (1960), and also arranged and reconstructed the score Night of the Tropics by Gottschalk (1955). He publ, an “adult education book,” Learn to Read Music (N.Y., 1956; tr. into Norwegian, 1972, It., 1975, and Sp., 1981), a fundamental documentary vol., Philharmonic: A History of New York’s Orchestra (N.Y., 1975), and ed. and wrote a critical introduction for Early Histories of the New York Philharmonic, containing reprints of books by Krehbiel, Huneker, and Erskine (N.Y., 1978). He also publ, authoritative articles on such varied subjects as Bach’s transpositions, Bizet’s suppressed sym., and (in The New Grove Dictionary of American Music) the development of orchs. in the U.S.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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