|Comet, Catherine, French conductor; b. Fontainebleau,
Dec. 6, 1944. She studied at the Paris Conservatoire (1958–63), where
she took a premier prix in piano; concurrently received private training
in analysis, harmony, counterpoint, and fugue from Boulanger before pursuing
conducting studies with Morel at the Juilliard School of Music N.Y (1964–68),
where she received B.A. and M.A. degrees. In 1966 she won first prize
in the Besançon conducting competition, and in 1967 she made her
professional conducting debut with the Lille Radio Sym. Orch. at the Besançon
Festival. In 1970–71 she was an assistant to Boulez with the BBC Symphony
Orchestra in London. She was conductor of the Paris Opéra Ballet
from 1972 to 1975; from 1979 to 1981 she was music director of the University
of Wisconsin symphony and chamber orchestras in Madison. After serving
as the Exxon-Arts Endowment Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
(1981–84), she was associate conductor of the Baltimore Sym. Orch. (1984–86).
In 1986 she became music director of the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Symphony
Orchestra, becoming the first woman to hold a post as music director of
a professional orchestra in the United States. In 1988 she was named co-recipient
of the Seaver/NEA Conductors Award. From 1990 to 1992 she was music director
of the American Symphony Orchestra in NY. Comet has appeared with fine
success as a guest conductor with principal North American orchestras,
including those of Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis, Philadelphia,
San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.
Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov (Васи́лий Серге́евич Кали́нников; January 13 [O.S. January 1] 1866 – 11 January 1901 [O.S. 29 December 1900]) was a policeman's son. He studied at the seminary at Oryol, becoming director of the choir there at fourteen. Later he went to the Moscow Conservatory but could not afford the tuition fees. On a scholarship he went to the Moscow Philharmonic Society School, where he received bassoon and composition lessons from Alexander Ilyinsky. He played bassoon, timpani and violin in theater orchestras and supplemented his income working as a music copyist.
In 1892, Tchaikovsky recommended Kalinnikov for the position of main conductor of the Maly Theater, and later that same year to the Moscow Italian Theater. However, due to his worsening tuberculosis, Kalinnikov had to resign from his theater appointments and move to the warmer southern clime of the Crimea. He lived at Yalta for the rest of his life, and it was there that he wrote the main part of his music, including his two symphonies and the incidental music for Alexey Tolstoy's Tsar Boris. Exhausted, he died of tuberculosis on 11 January 1901, just two days before his 35th birthday.
Thanks to Rachmaninoff's help, Tchaikovsky's publisher P. Jurgenson bought three Kalinnikov songs for 120 rubles, and later the Symphony No. 2 in A major. The Symphony No. 1 in G minor, which uses some cyclic principles, was performed in Berlin, Vienna and Moscow during his lifetime, but not published until after his death, so Jurgenson increased the fees he would have paid Kalinnikov, and paid them to his widow. He was also survived by a brother, Viktor, who composed choral music and taught at the Moscow Philharmonic Society School.
His reputation was established with his First Symphony, written between 1894 and 1895, which had great success when Vinogradsky conducted it at a Russian Musical Society concert in Kiev on 20 February 1897. Further performances swiftly followed, in Moscow, Vienna, Berlin, and Paris.In Russia his First Symphony remains in the repertory, and his place in musical history is secure. On 7 November 1943, Arturo Toscanini conducted the NBC Symphony Orchestra in a broadcast performance of the First Symphony. A wind band transcription of the finale of the First Symphony by Glenn Cliffe Bainum has also become a staple of the band repertoire
© 1991 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on January 7, 1991. Portions were broadcast on WNIB the following day, and again in 1994 and 1999. This transcription was made in 2019, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.