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Serge Koussevitzky

Conductor (1924-46), Music Director (1947-49), Boston Symphony Orchestra


Born in Vyshniy Volochek, Russia, July 26, 1874; Died in Boston, Massachusetts, June 4, 1951

Beginning as a virtuoso performer on the double bass, Russian-born Sergei Alexandrovich Koussevitzky became one of the conducting giants of the twentieth century. His seventy-seven-year life span encompassed a dazzling array of innovative accomplishments as composer, maestro, music publisher, recording artist, new music champion, and proponent of musicians' rights. The Boston Symphony was unionized during his tenure, the last major American orchestra to take this step. It was also under Koussevitzky's leadership that the BSO became a truly world-class ensemble, known everywhere by its recordings and as celebrated for its sound as for a repertory that linked the classical with the best of contemporary European and American music. The commencement under Koussevitzky's guidance of what became the Tanglewood Festival and Music center perpetuated and enhanced the legend of this temperamental, erratic, towering musical genius.

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