Cover image for Pierre Monteux, maître
Pierre Monteux, maître
Canarina, John, 1934-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Pompton Plains, N.J. : Amadeus Press, 2003.
Physical Description:
353 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
ML422.M72 C36 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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(Amadeus). Pierre Monteux became famous at the age of 38 for conducting the riotous world premiere of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in Paris on May 29, 1913. The composer, fearing bodily harm, escaped through a backstage window, while the imperturbable conductor persisted, forever to be identified with the event. He would also conduct the first concert performance and one of the first two recordings of Stravinsky's masterpiece, the other one conducted by Stravinsky himself. Though French by birth, the distinctively portly man with the walrus mustache resisted being typecast as a French conductor. He could have been a European maestro: he played for Brahms, worked with Grieg, presided over the world premieres of major works by Ravel, Stravinsky and many others, was Diaghilev's conductor of choice. But it was Monteux's American audiences, especially in San Francisco and Boston, who would love him the most over the course of a long career. He conducted many American premieres, works of Debussy, Falla, Ravel, and among the more than a dozen Boston premieres, those of The Rite of Spring and of Mahler's First Symphony . Canarina, a conductor and teacher of conducting himself, studied with Monteux for seven summers and brings great personal warmth and understanding to this wise, admiring and honest book, the first full-length biography of the man whom so many knew and loved as "Maitre."

Author Notes

John Canarina was a student of Pierre Monteux at L'Ecole Monteux from 1953 to 1957 and again in 1961. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, he has been conductor of the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra, assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, music director of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and, since 1973, director of Orchestral Studies at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Canarina provides a warm, loving portrait of a distinguished artist, one who played a critical role in the history of 20th-century music but whose reputation has begun to fade into memory. Monteux was a brilliant conductor, an influential teacher, a true "citizen of the world" (with special ties to Paris, San Francisco, Boston, London, and the coast of Maine), and, as the author makes abundantly clear, a generous, witty, sensitive human being. Canarina's greatest achievement may be his ability to flesh out the "legendary" Monteux and present the reader with a fascinating look at the real person on and off the podium. The book begins with an account of the 1913 premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (the single event most frequently associated with Monteux), but before long the reader will be caught up in a narrative spanning many decades, with a "supporting cast" that includes virtually all of the century's great figures. Monteux's conducting school in Hancock, Maine, receives special attention, and deservedly so. The book is relatively nontechnical. Though lacking a CD sampler, it does have a thorough and impressive discography, which one hopes will lead the reader to experience Monteux's art firsthand. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. E. Schwartz Bowdoin College

Table of Contents

Sir Neville MarrinerPierre Monteux
Forewordp. 9
Prefacep. 11
Acknowledgmentsp. 14
Overture: 29 May 1913p. 17
1. Early Yearsp. 19
2. Becoming a Conductorp. 28
3. The Ritep. 37
4. Beyond The Ritep. 45
5. The Metp. 54
6. The Boston Symphonyp. 61
7. Doris and Pierrep. 73
8. Amsterdamp. 82
9. Back to Americap. 95
10. The OSPp. 105
Interlude: Les Bauxp. 118
11. Arrival in San Franciscop. 120
12. San Francisco and NBCp. 129
13. Established in San Franciscop. 135
14. Recordings and Broadcastsp. 151
15. The Philharmonic and a Return to Philadelphia and Amsterdamp. 157
16. Coast to Coastp. 166
17. Summertimep. 175
18. Letters to Dorisp. 183
19. Au revoir to San Francisco--But Not Good-Byep. 194
20. Return to Bostonp. 209
21. The "Eroica"p. 216
22. L'Ecole Monteuxp. 223
Interlude: Family Lifep. 238
23. Return to NBC and the Metp. 242
24. Monteux at Eightyp. 248
25. Return to San Franciscop. 259
26. Finally, Traviata: Recordings in the 1950sp. 272
27. The LSO: Monteux at Eighty-Fivep. 281
28. Principal Conductorp. 296
29. The Final Yearp. 305
Coda: Closing Thoughtsp. 319
Pierre Monteux's Recorded Repertoirep. 321
Discographyp. 327
Significant World Premieres Conductedp. 341
Selected Bibliographyp. 342
Indexp. 345