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Comissiona, Sergiu


COMISSIONA, SERGIU (1928– ), Israeli and American conductor of Romanian birth. Comissiona studied violin and conducting at the Bucharest Conservatory, making his conducting debut at the age of 17. After an early career as a violinist, he was appointed music director of the Romanian State Opera in Bucharest (1955–59). He immigrated to Israel in 1959, where he was music director of the Haifa so (1959–66) and founder-conductor of the Ramat Gan Chamber Orchestra (1960–67). In 1963 he appeared in North America as conductor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra. A familiar figure in more than 25 countries, Comissiona led virtually all of the world's major symphony orchestras in performances acclaimed for their interpretative fire and musical and orchestral discipline. As music director, he transformed the Baltimore so into a truly professional ensemble (1969–84) and brought the Vancouver so back to musical health (1991–2000). He frequently conducted opera, chiefly at Covent Garden and the New York City Opera. In the early 2000s he held several important musical posts, among them as principal guest conductor of the Jerusalem so and the Georges Enescu Bucharest Philharmonic. As conductor laureate of the Asian Youth Orchestra, he led the ensemble on its tour in the Far East (2004). Comissiona has a clear preference for Romantic and Impressionist repertory. Among his recordings are works by Saint-Saëns, Ravel, Britten, Blomdahl, and Wirén. He received honors and awards from the Romanian and French governments as well as from Johns Hopkins University and the Peabody Conservatory. Comissiona and his wife became American citizens on July 4, 1976.


Grove online; Baker's Biographical Dictionary (1997); "Comissiona's 'Vitamins of Happiness," in: Opera News, 52 (July 1987) 26–27.

[Naama Ramot (2nd ed.)]

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