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History of Maurice Abravanel, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia. (Links Added)
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The development of the arts and the enhancement of the cultural quality of life in Utah owe much to Maurice Abravanel, Music Director of the Utah Symphony for more than three decades. A true internationalist, Abravanel was born in Greece of Spanish and Portuguese parents in 1903. His early life was spent in Switzerland and he studied in Germany under Kurt Weill, who profoundly influenced his professional life. Abravanel first conducted an orchestra at the age of sixteen in Switzerland. His conducting abilities soon placed him before the orchestras of several renowned opera houses in Europe, including the Berlin State Opera and the Paris Opera. He spent two years in Australia, doing much to influence the growth of symphony orchestras there. At the age of thirty-three he was engaged to conduct the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, being the youngest conductor at the Met at that time. Abravanel then turned his talents to Broadway, where he enjoyed great success as conductor of all of Weill's American productions.

At the age of forty-four, and with such vast experience behind him, Abravanel knew what he wanted to accomplish - to build a permanent symphony orchestra of his own. In 1947 he accepted a one-year contract to conduct the fledgling Utah Symphony. The local mountains and the symphony orchestra were both to his liking, and Abravanel stayed, eventually maintaining the position of Music Director for thirty-two years. The Maestro retired from the podium in 1979, but he remained active in the world of music and in Utah's cultural community until his death.


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