|John Mauceri, world-renowned
conductor, educator and writer, has appeared with the world’s greatest
opera companies and symphony orchestras, on the musical stages of
Broadway and Hollywood as well as at the most prestigious hall of
Mr. Mauceri served as music director (direttore stabile) of the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy for three years after completing seven years (22 productions and three recordings) as music director of Scottish opera, and is the first American ever to have held the post of music director of an opera house in either Great Britain or Italy. He was music director of the Washington Opera (The Kennedy Center) as well as Pittsburgh Opera, and was the first music director of American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall after its legendary founding director, Leopold Stokowski, with whom he studied. For fifteen years he served on the faculty of his alma mater, Yale University, and returned in 2001 to teach and conduct the official concert celebrating the university’s 300th anniversary. For 18 years, Mr. Mauceri worked closely with Leonard Bernstein and conducted many of the composer’s premieres at Bernstein’s request.
He is the Founding Director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, which was created for him in 1991 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Breaking all records at the Bowl, he conducted over 300 concerts at the 18,000-seat amphitheater with a total audience of four million people. One of Los Angeles’ most beloved figures, he has been honored with many awards and commendations, including “John Mauceri Day” in the state of California, receiving a Treasure of Los Angeles Award, and the Young Musicians Foundation Award. For seven years (2006-2013) he served as chancellor of the University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts, America’s first public arts conservatory-university.
He has conducted at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, London’s Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, Berlin’s Deutsche Oper, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, all the major London orchestras, as well as l’Orchestre Nationale de France and the Israel Philharmonic.
On Broadway, he was co-producer of On Your Toes, and served as musical supervisor for Hal Prince’s production of Candide, as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance with Bernadette Peters. He also conducted the orchestra for the film version of Evita.
Deeply committed to preserving two American art forms, the Broadway musical and Hollywood film scores, he has edited and performed a vast catalogue of restorations and first performances, including a full restoration of the original 1943 production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, performing editions of Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, Girl Crazy, and Strike up the Band, Bernstein’s Candide and A Quiet Place, and film scores by Miklós Rózsa, Franz Waxman, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Max Steiner, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Danny Elfman and Howard Shore. As one of two conductors in Decca Records’ award-winning series “Entartete Musik,” Mauceri made a number of historic first recordings of music banned by the Nazis. The intersection of the “degenerate composers” of Europe and the refugee composers of Hollywood is the subject of much of his research and his writings. In addition, Mr. Mauceri has conducted significant premieres of works by Verdi, Debussy, Hindemith, Ives, Stockhausen, and Weill.
In articles, speeches, radio and television appearances, John Mauceri has taken his passion for music and the importance of the arts to audiences throughout the world. These include Harvard University, Yale University, the Smithsonian Institution, the NEA, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Gramophone Magazine, NPR, BBC, PBS, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Huffington Post where he regularly writes a blog.
Mr. Mauceri is one of the world’s most accomplished recording artists, having released over 75 audio CDs and is the recipient of Grammy, Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Edison Klassiek, 3 Emmy Awards, 2 Diapasons d’Or, Cannes Classique, ECHO Klassik, Billboard, and four Deutsche Schallplatten awards. In 1999, Mr. Mauceri was chosen as a “Standard-bearer of the Twentieth Century” for WQXR, America’s most-listened-to classical radio station. According to WQXR, “These are a select number of musical artists who have already established themselves as forces to be reckoned with, and who will be the Standard Bearers of the 21st Century’s music scene.” The recipients were chosen for “their visionary talent and technical virtuosity.” In addition, CNN and CNN International chose Mr. Mauceri as a “Voice of the Millennium”.
-- Throughout this webpage, names which are links refer to my Interviews elsewhere on this website. BD
|In 1989, two years after this
interview with John Mauceri, Lyric Opera of Chicago launched its Toward the 21st Century artistic
initiative – the most important artistic initiative the company had
undertaken to date, and one with far-reaching impact on American opera
in North America as well as in the international opera community.
Throughout the 1990s Lyric produced one 20th-century European and one
American opera each season as part of the regular subscription series.
Within this initiative Lyric commissioned three new works: William
Bolcom’s McTeague (1992-93),
Anthony Davis’s Amistad
(1997-98), and Bolcom’s A View from
the Bridge (1999-00). Other operas by Americans included The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe by
Dominick Argento (revised for this occasion in 1990-91), Antony and Cleopatra by Barber
(1991-92, and telecast by PBS), Susannah
by Carlisle Floyd (1993-94, and 2003-04), Candide by Leonard Bernstein
(1994-95), The Ghosts of Versailles
by John Corigliano
(1995-96), The Consul by Gian
Carlo Menotti (1996-97), Mourning
Becomes Elektra by Marvin David Levy (1998-99), and The Great Gatsby by John Harbison
(2000-01). Then in 2014-15 Lyric Unlimited presented three world
premieres: the mariachi opera, El
Pasado Nunca Se Termina by José “Pape” Martínez
and Leonard Foglia; The Property
by Wlad Marhulets; and Second Nature
by Matthew Aucoin.
Prior to these, the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists had engaged its first Composer-in-Residence (William Neil) whose Guilt of Lilian Sloan (libretto by Frank Galati) was produced in 1985-86, and its second Composer-in-Residence (Lee Goldstein) whose The Fan (libretto by Charles Kondek) was produced in 1988-89. Subsequent productions by the Lyric Center included The Song of Majnun by Bright Sheng (libretto by Andrew Porter) in 1991-92, Orpheus Descending by Bruce Saylor (libretto by J.D. McClatchy) in 1993-94, Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk) by Shulamit Ran (libretto by Charles Kondek) in 1996-97, and Lovers and Friends (Chautauqua Variations by composer/librettist Michael John LaChiusa in 2000-01.
It should also be noted that early in its history, Lyric presented two operas by the American composer Vittorio Giannini - The Taming of the Shrew in 1954, Lyric's first season, and the world premiere of The Harvest in 1961.
© 1987 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on January 30, 1987. Portions were broadcast on WNIB in 1990, and again in 199 and 2000, and on WNUR in 2003 and 2013. This transcription was made in 2016, 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, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.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.