Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Sunday, October 13

A Diamond premiere

Synopsis

Today we have a “Tale of THREE Cities” to tell: Boston, Minneapolis, and Seattle — and the coast-to-coast saga of a symphony by the American composer David Diamond.

On today’s date in 1944, Diamond’s Second Symphony was given its first performance by the Boston Symphony, with the legendary Russian-born Serge Koussevitzky conducting. Now, Koussevitzky was a famous patron of new music, and in the 1930s and ‘40s, the Boston Symphony premiered many new works, but in this case, Diamond’s symphony was originally written for Minneapolis.

The famous Greek-born conductor, Dimitri Mitropoulos, admired Diamond’s music and had intended to premiere the new work with his orchestra, the Minneapolis Symphony. Mitropoulos had even personally paid for the preparation of the symphony’s orchestral parts. But when it seemed the premiere would have to be postponed, Mitropolous suggested Diamond offer the first performance to Koussevitzky in Boston, who gave the work’s premiere to great acclaim.

In 1990, after decades of relative neglect, Diamond’s Symphony came to Seattle. To celebrate the composer’s 75th birthday, a new compact disc recording of Diamond’s Second symphony was made by the Seattle Symphony and its conductor, Gerard Schwarz. The disc sparked renewed interest in Diamond’s work. In 1995, in recognition of his lifetime achievements, Diamond received the National Medal of Arts from then-President Bill Clinton.

Music Played in Today's Program

David Diamond (1915-2005) Symphony No. 2 Seattle Symphony; Gerard Schwarz, cond. Delos 3093

Additional Information

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