Composer  Vittorio  Rieti

A Conversation with Bruce Duffie


Vittorio Rieti, Prolific Composer In Neo-Classical Style, Dies at 96

Published in The New York Times, February 21, 1994  [Text only - photos added for this website presentation]

Vittorio Rieti, a prolific American composer who fashioned bright, elegant Neo-Classical scores for the ballets of Serge Diaghilev and George Balanchine, died on Saturday at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan. He was 96 and lived in Manhattan.

The cause was not immediately clear, said his son, Fabio, but Mr. Rieti had suffered a bad fall at his home, breaking several ribs.

In a career that spanned eight decades, Mr. Rieti wrote music for more than a dozen ballets, seven operas, five symphonies, several concertos, chamber music for a wide variety of instrumental combinations, songs and choral works. His music was widely performed; among the conductors who led performances of Mr. Rieti's works were Fritz Reiner, Frederick Stock, Willem Mengelberg and Arturo Toscanini.


Mr. Rieti was born in Egypt, to Italian-born parents, and educated in Italy. But his music -- in its wit, craft, lack of pretense and economy of means -- shares similarities with the work of the French group of composers who called themselves Les Six, particularly that of Poulenc. The music of Stravinsky, a close friend, was also an important influence.

Mr. Rieti continued to compose until shortly before his death. He used to say, "Composing every day is what keeps me alive." In his 75th, 80th and 85th birthday years, there were commemorative concerts in New York that included many new works. "Vittorio Rieti is becoming something of a wonder," Allen Hughes wrote in The New York Times after a 1985 concert. "He will be 87 years old on the 28th of this month, but he is still composing music that is as sprightly and cheerful as anything he ever wrote."  [That review is reproduced at an appropriate place later on this webpage.]

Other commentators remarked upon the jaunty cheer in Mr. Rieti's music, yet some professed to find its obverse as well. "Rieti's oeuvre stands apart in its specific clarity, gaiety and sophistication of a kind only he possesses," the composer Alfredo Casella once said, "yet it hides a good deal of melancholia."

In 1973, Mr. Rieti said: "I go on writing music. I started when I was 12, and it has become a habit. I maintain the same esthetic assumptions I have always had. I have kept evolving in the sense that one keeps on perfecting the same ground."

Mr. Rieti was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on Jan. 28, 1898. As a musician, he was largely self-taught, although he acknowledged a debt to the composer Alfredo Casella, to the piano pedagogue Giuseppe Frugatta and to some "finishing touches" from Ottorino Respighi. In the early 1920's, he belonged to a group that called itself I Tre, an Italian imitation of Les Six. His first international success came in 1924, when Casella conducted his "Concerto for Winds and Orchestra" in Prague.

From 1925 to 1940, he lived in Paris, where he formed close ties with Les Six and with Stravinsky. He wrote ballet music for Diaghilev -- "Barabau" (1925) was particularly successful -- and incidental music for Louis Jouvet.

In 1940, Mr. Rieti, his Italian wife, Elsie, and their son moved to the United States, where Mr. Rieti established a close working relationship with Balanchine, whose ballets "Waltz Academy" and "Native Dancers" are set to Mr. Rieti's music. However, Mr. Rieti's best-known collaboration with Balanchine remains "La Sonnambula," in which he orchestrated melodies by Bellini. The compositions of the last 20 years of Mr. Rieti's life were mostly works for string ensembles, mostly string quartets.


"He was like Verdi and Tintoretto in the sense that some of his most beautiful works were composed near the end of his life," said Robert Fizdale, a duopianist who, with Arthur Gold, played and recorded much of Mr. Rieti's work. Mr. Rieti wrote numerous compositions for them over the years. Mr. Gold died two years ago.

While Mr. Rieti was in his 90's, a well-attended annual concert of his chamber music was given in New York, most recently at Merkin Concert Hall, by members of the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Much of the work that was performed was new, and all of it, Mr. Rieti's admirers said, sounded fresh.

His son said yesterday that Mr. Rieti's final compositions, done in the last two months, were for a string quartet, and another chamber work titled "The Glorious Ensemble."

Mr. Rieti taught at the Peabody Conservatory from 1948 to 1949, at the Chicago Musical College from 1950 to 1953, at Queens College from 1955 to 1960, and at the New York College of Music from 1960 to 1964.

He was often encouraged to write his memoirs but said he wasn't interested. "I haven't got records, and I have a bad memory," he told an interviewer in 1973. "Too bad. I've known so many people, but I've lost track."

Mr. Rieti was married in 1924 to Elsie Rappaport, who died in 1969. He is survived by his son, a painter in Paris; two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.



In my search for interviews with classical musicians, I often tried to find the oldest among those who were still around in the 1980s.  My success in that venture is shown not only by speaking with so many who were
along in years by that time, but the list includes sixteen who were born in the Nineteenth Century!  Beginning with the oldest — Soprano Dame Eva Turner, who was born March 10, 1892 — Rieti is number eight on the list!

It was late in 1985 that I contacted Rieti, and he graciously agreed to let me call him on the telephone.  Nearing ninety, he was still alert and vigorous, and our conversation ranged among various musical subjects.

As usual, I checked my pronunciation of my guest
’s name — ree-AEE-teeand was glad to know that I had been doing it correctly.

Here is what was said that afternoon . . . . . . . . . 

Bruce Duffie:    I would like to talk with you about several things... some of your early career, quite a bit about your music, and then also your ideas about composing.

Vittorio Rieti:    Ha, ha, ha!   On this telephone it’s not very easy.  [Both laugh]

rieti BD:    You started out studying both music and economics?

VR:    Yes, because I was directed into economics.  I was supposed to take the business of my father, who was in the import business in Egypt where I was born.  So my regular studies were in economics.  As far as music is concerned, I had only piano lessons.  I consider myself more of less self-taught.

BD:    Is there anything in the learning of economics that has helped you in the musical career at all?

VR:    No, absolutely nothing.  I forgot everything.  [Both laugh]

BD:    You studied with Respighi and Casella?

VR:    When I studied with Respighi I already knew everything, so I had some lessons in orchestration with him.  But, as I say, I had already made my own self-education.  As far as Casella, he helped me a lot in the beginning of my career.  He conducted my compositions in the music festivals, so he introduced me to the musical world.

BD:    You say you were very much self-taught as far as music goes.

VR:    Yes.

BD:    Then later on in your career, you were a teacher of theory and composition.  Was that correct?

VR:    Yes, in this country.  The first time that I went to the Conservatory was as a teacher.

BD:    Is musical composition something that can be taught, or is it something that really must be learned on one’s own?

VR:    Well, both.  It’s difficult, yes, but it can be taught.  For instance, in my case it was not necessary because I didn’t need it.  But it surely can be taught, and you’re not used to it, it’s of no use.  [Laughs]

BD:    I just wondered if someone who is not gifted can really be taught to be a good composer.

VR:    No, certainly not.  If you’re not gifted.  No, you can’t teach composition to someone whose bent is not gifted for that.  You can teach him, but in that case he can become a teacher or a theorist.

BD:    In the 1920s you formed a group called I Tre [The Three]?

VR:    This is a legend because there was in Paris, there was a group called Les Six [The Six].  I had an idea that I needed to do something to imitate them, but it was not serious.  I don’t know why it’s still in the record.  There’s never been a group of I Tre.  Besides myself there was Renzo Massarani and Mario Labroca.  I am the only one who survived as a composer because the two others gave up composition and became very efficient organizers in concerts and all that.

BD:    Journalists find the fact that you organized this group to be a good story, so they hang onto it.

VR:    Yes, it’s a story.  In any case, it was not me who organized it.  All in all, the three of us at that time gave one or two concerts, and then it was over.

BD:    Your music was conducted by Toscanini and Mitropoulos.  Did these great conductors find more in your music than lesser conductors?

VR:    I don’t know!  [Laughs]  This is not a question that’s for me to answer.  That’s for them to know.  Fortunately, they did find things, and when they had the occasion, the opportunity, they choose to perform my works no matter what other conductors thought.

BD:    Were you particularly happy with the way they conducted your music?

VR:    Oh, yes, of course.

BD:    More so than the way other conductors handled your music?

VR:    No, not necessarily, but then I didn’t hear all the conductors who did my music.  Also among the great conductors was Mengleberg.  He was the conductor in Amsterdam, but I never heard his conducting, so I can
’t judge.  I know that he conducted my music because he told me he conducted my Concerto for Wind Quintet and Orchestra.  He said that he performed it fourteen times in America and three times in Holland.  Toscanini’s was a wonderful performance, and Mitropoulos conducted the Cello Concerto with Raya Garbousova as soloist.  Another great name was Stokowski, who once conducted my Harpsichord Concerto.

BD:    It must make you feel very good inside that these great conductors would look at your music and decide that it was something they wanted to do.

VR:    Yes, of course, but then so many other conductors did, also.  It’s not a question of the great conductors.  I’m not fussed about the big names.  I would say almost the bulk of my production is for the ballet.

BD:    I read some time ago that you had mentioned that when your style is evolving, really it means that you are perfecting the same ground.  Is that still true?

VR:    Yes, I think it’s true.  I have been called a neo-classic, and I have remained that.  I think I have perfected things, but I haven’t changed the general direction.

BD:    In Baker
’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Nicolas Slonimsky says that your music is a synthesis of cosmopolitan modern tendencies.

VR:    I don
’t know about being cosmopolitan, but the Grove has a very accurate article, it seems to me.  [The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie.]  Certainly my music has been influenced by the French more than other.  Many critics have said that my music is very much ‘Frenchified’, but that was not the opinion of the French!  The French hate the fact that I had a mentor who was fundamentally Italian.  So I think that they are both right.

BD:    How would you describe your music?

VR:    The style is neo-classic.  The major influence in my composing has been the Classical Period of Stravinsky.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:    Let us move now to some of your compositions.  Before we get to the ballets, let me ask you first about some of your operas.  You’ve written several operas of varying sizes.

VR:    Yes.  The most important one is Don Perlimplin (1952) on a García Lorca play.  Have you got the titles of the main operas?

BD:    Yes, I have all the titles written down.  The first one is Orfeo Tragedia (1928-29).

VR:    No, Orfeo doesn’t exist anymore because it was never performed, and I withdrew it.

BD:    [Surprised]  Why did you withdraw it?

VR:    Because there was no opera opportunity, and I used part of the material elsewhere.  I was not very much satisfied with the whole thing, so as an opera it’s withdrawn.  Much of its material has gone into the ballet called The Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne [Trionfo di Bacco e Arianna] (1948).  I have many more ballets than operas.

BD:    Nowadays musicological scholars take a great delight in going back to the Urtext and the early versions.  Suppose in a few years they discover a score for this Orfeo and they try to resurrect and perform it.  Would this be a mistake?

VR:    Yes, it would be a mistake, and I hope it doesn’t happen.  There’s probably an original score in some archive of the Universal Edition in Vienna, so I think there is no danger of this kind.


BD:    Another chamber opera is called Teresa Nel Bosco (1934).

VR:    That was the great flop in my life.  It was performed in a festival in Venice, one of those festivals of international music, and it was a flop, and it stayed there.

rieti BD:    That’s too bad.  I’m sorry that you had a failure with it.  Then you produced an opera for the radio called Viaggio d’Europa (1954).

VR:    [Musing]  Ah, Viaggio d’Europa, yes.  This is a radio opera, and it was performed only on the airwaves.  This is an important piece, yes, a good thing.

BD:    Would it would work on the stage?

VR:    It would work on the stage with adaptations because in the version as it is now, it is sung and also has spoken sections.  If it was made to be put on the stage, perhaps it would be revamped.  Anyway, there hasn’t been any opportunity of staging it.

BD:    How is it different to composer for a purely listening medium, rather than a visual medium?  Why is this not simply a cantata or oratorio rather than an opera?

VR:    Yes, it’s more like an oratorio because there is no indication of staging, of scenes, of changing of settings.  It’s more of a narration than an action.

BD:    But it’s more than just incidental music?

VR:    Oh, yes, much more than incidental music.  It’s like an oratorio.  Perhaps it could be called something between an oratorio and an opera.

BD:    Another opera of yours is called The Pet Shop (1958).

VR:    The Pet Shop is a kind of satirical, short, one-act opera, which has been around quite a lot in America.  It’s about a fashionable lady who enters a competition together with her dog.  Then she has no dog, and she goes in a pet shop together with her daughter.  Then the daughter falls in love with the man of the shop, so they blackmail the mother into accepting the marriage.  Otherwise she won’t have the dog!  [Both have a huge laugh]  It was performed first with the Mannes School in New York, and then in Aspen, Colorado, and it has gone around a little bit.

BD:    There’s another one called The Clock.

VR:    Oh, The Clock, yes!  It has had only one tentative performance in the Brooklyn Theater, and so far it has stayed there.  The most important opera of mine is Don Perlimplin.

BD:    Is that something that can or should be staged by the big international houses?

VR:    It can be staged anywhere.  It was first performed in a concert version, conducted by Rafael Kubelik in Chicago.  The first stage performance was in Paris in 1952 in a big festival.  Then it was staged in New York at the Hunter College Theater, and more recently it was staged in Palermo, Sicily.


BD:    Let me ask about your ballets.  How do your ballets differ from the operas since they’re both stage works?

VR:    Well, differently.  A ballet is a ballet, and an opera is an opera!  They’re different!  [Both laugh]  I have worked much more for the ballet than for the opera but that was just because of the opportunities.  I was introduced to the Diaghilev Ballet in the ‘20s.  My first ballet in 1925 was Barabau with Diaghilev and Balanchine.  Then I entered into the world of the choreographers of the dances because everybody agrees that my music has a choreographic quality.  It calls for that.  So besides the ballets that I have written, much of my music has been staged for ballet, although originally it was not meant for ballet.  Very often, for instance, I have to orchestrate some of my piano music because they want it to make a ballet out of the music.  I have worked very much with Balanchine.  We had a very steady collaboration, and of course many other choreographers and all the dancers.  All the world of the ballet I have been in very much.


BD:    When you write a ballet, do you have to take into account the needs of the dancers in the same way that you take into account the needs of the singers when you write an opera?

VR:    [Laughs]  No, because when you write an opera, you write for the singers who are going to sing.  You don’t write for the choreography.

rieti BD:    You don’t have to worry at all about what they are doing?

VR:    No, no, no.   That’s the choreographer.  That’s his business.  That’s his part of the world.  I couldn’t envision that, no.  There are two sorts of ballets.  There are ballets with a plot, there are ballets without plots, which are abstract.  Those have just music, and then the choreographer is free to do anything without the plot.

BD:    Are yours mostly without plot?

VR:    No, both.  I prefer the ballet with plot.  It is more interesting.  Then it’s really a drama, something for the theater.  I feel that there has been too much abstract ballet, but I am not very much convinced.  After all, the great ballets, the historical ballets, are ballets with a story, with a plot.

BD:    Is a ballet with a story easier to compose?

VR:    It’s not easier, no.

BD:    Which of your ballets are you most happy with, or which do you think are your best work
— or is that an unfair question to ask a composer?

VR:    No, the point is that of all my ballets, Night Shadow, which is called also La Sonnambula, is the one which has been done much more than all the others.  There have been something now between two and three thousand performances, which is so many more than any other of my ballets... yet it’s not a hundred per cent original because it’s based on themes out of Bellini’s opera.

BD:    Sure, so it’s really an arrangement rather than original?

VR:    No, it’s more than an arrangement because it’s not just taking the pieces from the opera.  I take the themes and then I develop them absolutely freely.  But to answer your question, I wouldn’t say that I prefer any one, or that it is possible to prefer one.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:    Are your compositions mostly from commissions, or are they just because you wanted to write them, and hope that you’ll get performances?

VR:    Both.  Yes, some are commissions and some are just my selfish self-commissions!  [Laughs]  I prefer it when it’s a commission!  [Both laugh]

BD:    When you get a commission, do they dictate what forces will be used?

VR:    Yes, usually.  The commissions that I had were mostly for the ballet, therefore the form which is used is the ballet.  But I had also commissions for chamber music and for smaller orchestras and things like that.  Usually when you get a commission, there is an indication which can be more or less the size.  For instance, if it’s for orchestra or if it’s for chamber music, it’s something different.

BD:    I just wondered if you have any say-so over these details.

VR:    There’s a certain latitude in a commission in the form or in the number of instruments that you can use.  There’s always some indication, but they always give a certain amount of latitude, yes.


BD:    Were any of the commissions ever too confining, or such that you would rather have written for a different instrumentation or different kinds of forces.

VR:    No, because I’ve written all kinds of things.  I can take a commission of any kind of form
solo, concertos, quartets... I think I can manage any kind.

BD:    But you seem to be happiest in the ballet.

VR:    [Thinks a moment]  No, not necessarily.  I’ve just had more commissions for ballet because of circumstances.  I can’t say that I am more happy for a ballet than for other means.

BD:    Is it safe to say that you are happiest when you are writing music?

VR:    Oh, yes, sure, when I am working, yes.

BD:    I assume you are still working?

VR:    Yes, I am still working, yes.  [Laughs]

BD:    What kinds of things are you writing now?

VR:    Precisely now I am just sketching things, but I don’t know what is going to happen.  The latest thing that I have composed was a commission by the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, which was on a concert of my works.


By Allen Hughes  Published in The New York Times, January 13, 1985

Vittorio Rieti is becoming something of a wonder. He will be 87 years old on the 28th of this month, but he is still composing music that is as sprightly and cheerful as anything he ever wrote. Or at least he was doing so as recently as 1984. At Goodman House on Tuesday night, St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble gave a concert of his works - five all told - and all but one of them dated from the past two years.

There were the ''Sonata a Dieci'' and ''Verdiana'' of 1983, ''Tre Improvisi'' and ''Concertino pro San Luca'' of 1984 and one early work, ''Madrigale,'' from 1927. All the pieces had a common denominator in that they were scored for woodwinds, trumpet, piano and string quartet. The ''Madrigale'' and one of the ''Improvisi'' also also called for a French horn.

Mr. Rieti, who has lived in this country since 1940, is Italian by parentage and training, but his music is fundamentally French, influenced by Stravinsky's neo-classicism. Stravinsky was a friend, and Mr. Rieti spent a lot of time in Paris when he was young.

The influence of Paris in the 20's that has stuck with him more resolutely, perhaps, than with any French composer was that music should not pretend to profundity. Grandiose statements are definitely not for him, nor is sentimentality. Instead, he is known chiefly for lighthearted music that is meant to divert, to entertain.

In fact, the works in this program qualified as 20th-century equivalents of the serenades and divertimentos of 18th-century composers. Lively tunes were manipulated deftly, the instrumental coloring was bright, the textures were clear and the structural organization simple. This was generally true even of ''Verdiana,'' in which Mr. Rieti made a ballet score based on themes from Verdi operas.

The performances projected the Rieti spirit admirably, St. Luke's young instrumentalists delivering the music with insouciance and charm.

Recently I also did a short ballet for the Indianapolis Ballet Theater. This was my last set of variations, something I had orchestrated out of music by Chabrier.  Last month, they had a special event where they revived two of my ballets that I had written for Diaghilev, plus the new ballet.  It was all an evening of my ballets.  It was kind of a celebration!  The Governor of Indiana was there, and I was given a special honor.  I have had other experiences with the same group, and they are very good.  I do
n’t get as many performances as Stravinsky, but my music has been performed in many countries all around the world, a little bit everywhere.

BD:    I appreciate your spending the time with me this afternoon to talk about your music.

VR:    Oh, you’re welcome!


See my Interviews with Lee Hoiby and Jorge Mester





Jonathan Sternberg (Conductor)

Born: July 27, 1919 - New York, USA

The American conductor, Jonathan Sternberg, is regarded by many as one of the most distinguished conductors appearing on the international podium. His performances have been unanimously acclaimed by critics, musicians and public alike from Berlin to Buenos Aires.

Sternberg was born in New York of Austro-Russian parents. As a child he studied violin at the Institute of Musical Art (now the Juilliard School) in New York from 1929 to 1931. He continued his musical and academic education at the Manhattan School of Music, New York University, receiving B.A. in 1939 with viola and musicology as principal subjects. He followed that by studies in musicology at NYU Graduate School and Harvard from 1939 to 1940. During his undergraduate years, he was active as a New York critic for the Musical Leader of Chicago; he also attended rehearsals of the National Orchestral Association conducted by Leon Barzin, from whom he acquired his conducting technique. Apart from two later private sessions with Barzin (1946) and two summers (1946-1947) of conducting lessons with Pierre Monteux, he was self-taught.

Sternberg began his professional career on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941, conducting the National Youth Administration Orchestra of New York in Copland's An Outdoor Overture, before entering military service. At the end of the war he found himself in Shanghai where he took over the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra for a season.

After returning briefly to the USA, he moved to Vienna, making his conducting debut with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in 1947. Then he toured extensively as a guest conductor in Europe, North America, and the Far East. He worked closely with the Haydn scholar H.C. Robbins Landon, scouring the libraries, monasteries and churches of Austria for lost manuscripts, until Robbins Landon set up the Haydn Society, for which Sternberg made a series of pioneering recordings, initially of Haydn and Mozart, not least the Nelson Mass, Posthorn Serenade and some dozen Haydn symphonies. Other recording premières under Sternberg included Schubert's Second Symphony, Rossini's Stabat mater, Prokofiev's Fifth Piano Concerto with Alfred Brendel (his first recording), Milhaud's Fantaisie Pastorale and Charles Ives's Set of Pieces.

Sternberg also began to present modern American music to European audiences that had heard little of such repertory. With the RIAS orchestra in Berlin he conducted the first European performances of a large number of American scores, including Leonard Bernstein's Serenade, Menotti's Violin Concerto and the Second Symphony of Charles Ives. With other orchestras, Sternberg conducted the first European performances of works by Barber, Copland, David Diamond and Benjamin Lees. He was also responsible for a number of world premières, including Ned Rorem's First Symphony (1951) and Lászlo Lajtha's Sixth (1961).

After a year at the helm of the Halifax Symphony Orchestra (1957–1958), Jonathan Sternberg was Music Director and the Principal Conductor of the Royal Flemish Opera in Antwerp, Belgium for five years (1961-1966). In 1966 he returned to the USA to accept an appointment as the Musical Director and Principal Conductor of the Harkeness Ballet of New York (1966-1968). Concurrently he was Musical Consultant to the Rebekah Harkness Foundation for their Ballet Commissioning program. Some years later he was appointed musical director and conductor of the Atlanta Municipal Theater in charge of opera and ballet performances at the new Memorial Cultural Center (1968-1969), opening the new Atlanta Memorial Arts Center with the American stage première of Purcell's King Arthur. He has also been associated with Col. De Basil's Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Outstanding among his guest engagements have been the first European tour of the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, several all-Beethoven concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the Royal Festival Hall, appearances with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, the Orchestre Lamoureux in Paris, the orchestras of Warsaw, Prague, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Basel, Brussels, Monte Carlo, etc.

After Atlanta, Sternberg divided his professional time with the academic world. He took up a visiting professorship of conducting at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York (1969-1971). On leaving, he took up a similar position at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, where he taught and conducted from 1971-1989. Here, too, he conducted a number of world premières, including Music for Chamber Orchestra by David Diamond (1976), A Lincoln Address (1972) and Night Dances (1970) by Vincent Persichetti, and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski's Ricercari notturni for three saxophones and orchestra (1978). From 1989 he has been a lecturer at Chestnut Hill College. In addition he has continued pursuing his career as guest conductor on five continents. In his 80s he was still active on the podium and as a lecturer. From 2004 to 2008 he was Musical and Artistic Director of the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, sister Festival in the USA to Bachfest Leipzig.

A long list of recordings made in Vienna, Salzburg, Paris and Zürich has made the name Jonathan Sternberg a familiar name to discophiles internationally. Among the artists with whom he has collaborated in concert and opera, are Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Henryk Szeryng, Paul Badura-Skoda, Annie Fischer, Philippe Entremont, Byron Janis, Teresa Stich-Randall, Lisa Della Casa, Hilde Gueden, George London and Paul Schoeffler.

In January 2009 Jonathan Sternberg received The Conductors Guild's Award for Lifetime Service in recognition of long-standing service to the art and profession of conducting.

© 1985 Bruce Duffie

This conversation was recorded on the telephone on November 10, 1985.  Portions were broadcast on WNIB two months later, and again in 1988 and 1993.  Though no interview was included, I included some of his music on the in-flight entertainment package of Delta Airlines in January of 1989.  This transcription was made in 2017, 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.