Pioneering Conductor James DePreist Dies
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Pioneering Conductor James DePreist Dies

Scottsdale : AZ : USA | Feb 09, 2013 at 9:48 PM PST
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Pioneering classical conductor Jamed DePreist died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona on February 8 at the age of 76. The cause of death is being cited as complications form a heart attack DePreist had last year.

A nephew of contralto Marian Anderson, the National Medal of Arts winer DePreist was among the first African American conductors in the United States.

DePreist was born in Philadelphia. He later studied composition at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music. He later earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1962 DePreist contracted polio which affected his mobility. Thirty years later he developed a kidney disease that resulted in dialysis and a kidney transplant.

A trip to Asia in 1962 – where DePreist was there to perorm with his jazz quintet - brought DePreist his first conducting opportunity when he conduced a rehearsal with the Bangkok symphony Orchestra.

After winning the Dmitri Mitropoulos Interantion Music Competiton for Conductors, Leonard Bernstein offered DePreist the position of assistant conductor for the New York Philharmonic. In 1969 he made his European debut when he took over the conducting duties for the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and later became the Assoicate Director for the National Symphony in Washington DC.

Before taking over head conducting duties in Oregon in 1980, DePreist led the Houston and Quebec Symphonies. He remained in Oregon for the next 23 years.

After leaving Oregon, DePreist took over as the director for orchestral and conducting duties at the Julliard School of Music in New York City. He also served as a guest conductor ofr symphonies and orchestras in North America and Europe including the Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, the Malmo symphony of Sweden, the Helsinki Philharmonic, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo.

His last position was conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra where he also appeared in the Japanese anime series “Nodame Cantabile”.

In 2000 Columbia University honoured DePreist with the Ditson Conductor's Award for his devotion to American music.

Besides being a world famous orchestra conductor DePreist was a poet who published two books “This Precipice Garden” and “The Distant Siren”. Speaking on DePreist's poetry Maya Angelou said, “his poetry has the tautness of a perfectly pitched viola and much of its resonance.”

DePreist is survived by his wife Ginette, children Tracy and Jennifer, and two grandchildren.

James DePresit's Discography – Just some of the numerous compositions DePreist recorded...
“Dance of the Herdmaiden” by Alfven
“Carment Suite No. I” by Bizet
“Overture to Russian and Ludmilla” by Glinka
“The Hours of the Day” by Larsson
“Overture to Marionetter” by Rosenberg
“Gymnopedies (1 & 3) by Satie
“Festive Overture” by Shostakovich
“Romance for Violin and Orchestra” by Svendsen
“Symphony #3 Diversions Concerto for Violin” by Richard rodney Bennett
“Carmen Suite # 1” by Bizet
“The Carmen Ballet” by Bizet-Shchedrin
“Symphony No. 5 Op. 34” by Blackwood
“Fantasy for Trombone” by Creston
Trombone Concerto” by Schuller
“Trombone Concerto” by Walker
“Trombone Concerto” by Zwillich
“Pelleas & Melisande Masques et Bergamasques” by Faure
“Offertorium Violin Concerto (Oleh Krysa)” by Gubaidulina”
“The Four Temperaments Nobilissima Visione” by Hindemith
“Symphony No. 2 Souvenirs” by D'Indy
“Symphonies 1, 4, & 5” by Kanceheli
“The Frescoes of Piero della Francesca Rhapsody by Martinu
“Concerto for Viola and Orchestra (Nobuko Imai)” by Martinu
“Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano, and Timpani” by Martinu
“Apocalypse” by Menotti
“Meditations on Ecclesiastes” by Dello Joio
“The Masks” by Lopresti
“Violin Concertos Nos. 2 & 4 (Kaija Saarikettu)” by Merikanto
“Symphonies Nos. 4, 5, & 29” by Mozart
“Night Dances” by Persichetti
“Cinderella” by Prokofiev
“On the Dnieper” by Prokofiev
“Symphony No. 4 in C Major Op. 112 – Lt.Kije Suite” by Prokofiev
“Symphony No. 2” by Rachmaninoff
“Vocalise” by Rachmoninoff
“La Mer et les Mouettes” by Rachmaninoff
“Fountains of Rome” by Respighi
“Pines of Rome” by Respighi
Feste Romane by Respighi
“Symphony No. 3” by Saint-Saens
“Danse Macabre” by Saint-Saens
“Bacchanale” by Saint-Saens
“Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5” by Sallinen
“Faust Cantata” by Schnittke
“New Morning for the World” by Schwantner
“The Passon of Martin Luther King” by Flagello
“Cello Concerti 1 & 2 (Torleif Thedeen)” by Shostakovich
“Symphony No. 5” by Shostakovich
“Chamber Symphony” by Shostakovich
“Symphony No. 8” by Shostakovich
“Symphonies 9 & 12” by Shostakovich
“Symphony No. 10” by Shostakovich
“Symphony No. 11” by Shostakovich
“Violin Concerti Nos 1 & 2” by Shostakovich
“Symphony No. 2” by Sibelius
“Symphony No. 7” by Sibelius
“Don Juan” by Strauss
“Concerto for Orchestra” by Lutoslawski
“Roman Festivals” by Respighi
“The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps)” by Stravinsky
“The Firebird Suite” by Stravinsky
“Ouverture of the Season” by Svoboda
“Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra” by Svoboda
“Symphony No. 1 (of Nature) by Svoboda
“Hamlet” by Tchaikovsky
“The Tempest” by Tchaikovsky
“1812 Overture” by Tchaiklovsky
“Four Symphonic Quartets” by George Tsontakis
“Symphony No. 5” by Mahler

Sherrill Fulghum is based in Niagara Falls, New York, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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