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CLASSICAL  February 2007

CLASSICAL February 2007

Subject:

Landau Obit

From:

Karl Miller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 21 Feb 2007 11:20:44 -0800

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text/plain

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Reading the obit below, I was reminded of how many arts organizations
start out with a goal of serving the arts and end up having the goal of
serving themselves.

  February 21, 2007

   Siegfried Landau, Conductor, Dies at 85
   By DENNIS HEVESI

   Siegfried Landau, the founding conductor of what is now called
   the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, died on Monday night, along
   with his wife, Irene Gabriel, in a fire at their home in Brushton,
   in northern New York State. Mr. Landau was 85. His wife, a former
   ballet dancer, was 70.

   The deaths were confirmed by Adam Teeter, a spokesman for the
   Brooklyn Philharmonic, which was known as the Brooklyn Philharmonia
   during Mr. Landau's tenure, from 1955 to 1971. From 1961 to 1968,
   Mr. Landau was also conductor of the White Plains Symphony.

   From both podiums Mr. Landau regularly insisted on conducting
   new or rarely performed works - sometimes to the consternation
   of orchestra board members.

   "He put together a corps of top-notch, professional freelance
   players from New York," said Maurice Edwards, a former executive
   director of the Brooklyn Philharmonia and the author of "How
   Music Grew in Brooklyn" (Scarecrow Press, 2006). "He did at least
   two or three new compositions each season, or revivals of neglected
   symphonic scores."
 
   Mr. Evans said Mr. Landau introduced audiences at the Brooklyn
   Academy of Music to Ernest Bloch's "Symphony for Trombone and
   Orchestra," William Schuman's "Symphony for Strings" and works
   by Carl Nielsen, John Corigliano and Roy Harris. Mr. Landau also
   conducted concert versions of operas, had modern dancers on
   programs and started a series of free concerts for schoolchildren.
 
   Born in Berlin on Sept. 4, 1921, Mr. Landau was the son of Ezekiel
   and Helen Grynberg Landau; his father was an Orthodox rabbi. He
   studied music at the Stern and Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatories
   in Germany, and in 1939, the family fled from Berlin to London,
   where Mr. Landau continued his musical studies at the Guildhall
   School.
 
   A year later, Mr. Landau came to New York, where he studied with
   the conductor Pierre Monteux. By 1943, he had joined the faculty
   of the New York College of Music, now Mannes College of the New
   School. He was also a frequent guest conductor for the Carnegie
   Pops and Hunter College concerts.
 
   In 1954, Mr. Landau married Ms. Gabriel. They are survived by
   two sons, Robert and Peter, and Mr. Landau's sister, Lotte Landau.
 
   In 1971, he resigned from the Brooklyn Philharmonia when the
   orchestra, then financially troubled, shortened its season,
   limiting his innovative work. Ten years later, Mr. Landau resigned
   from the White Plains Symphony Orchestra, which had previously
   been known as the Music for Westchester Orchestra. At the time,
   the orchestra's president, Philip Carret, said the board objected
   to programs that included Sibelius's Symphony No. 4, Bartok's
   "Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta" and Beethovens Fourth
   Symphony. "Programs have to be such that we can raise money for
   the orchestra," Mr. Carret said. The orchestra stopped performing
   in 1987.

   Mr. Landau's response was: "If I stayed with the same old warhorses
   year after year, if I permitted the repertoire to stagnate and
   become impoverished, I would no longer be serving the course of
   music. What is of enormous importance is that we take a stand
   against a tendency that is absolutely deadening to the future
   of Western music."

Karl

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