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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Tuesday, April 7

A Corigliano father and son act?

Synopsis

From 1951 to the time of his death in 1976, the Texas-born conductor Victor Alesandro led the San Antonio Symphony.

In addition to being a fine conductor, Alessandro had a very clever system for attracting talented players to his orchestra. He kept his eyes open for key players about to retire from all the top American orchestras and sent them tempting brochures describing San Antonio’s palm trees, old Spanish houses, and mild winters. Many accepted his invitations, settled in San Antonio, and served as models and mentors for the Symphony’s younger players.

In 1966, for example, John Corigliano, Sr., facing mandatory retirement as the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, took up the same position with the San Antonio Symphony.

And so it came about that on today’s date in 1968, John Corigliano, Senior, then aged 67, served as the concertmaster for the world premiere performance of a new Piano Concerto written by his son, composer John Corigliano, Junior, then aged 30. The premiere performers, pianist Hilde Somer and the San Antonio Symphony under Alessandro, even recorded the new work for Mercury Records.

Although well received at the time, Corigliano’s concerto was rather neglected for many years thereafter, but more recently has been receiving new performances and recordings. Reviewing a 1996 recording of the work, Edward Greenfield of GRAMOPHONE magazine wrote, “If Corigliano unashamedly uses a freely eclectic style, his writing is consistently positive and energetic, never merely conventional.”

Music Played in Today's Program

John Corigliano (b. 1938) Piano Concerto James Tocco, p.; Louisville Orch; Lawrence Leighton Smith, cond. First Edition FECD-0002

Additional Information

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