Thursday, July 9, 2009

David Zinman

David Zinman is an American violinist, conductor, and teacher born on July 9, 1936 (Stravinsky was 54 years old.) However, I do not know if he ever played violin professionally (as Lorin Maazel did.) At age 6 he began studying the violin and later entered the Oberlin Conservatory (Ohio), from which he graduated; afterward he studied theory and composition at the University of Minnesota. At Tanglewood (Massachusetts - 1958), he concentrated on conducting and soon received an invitation from Pierre Monteux to become his assistant with the London Symphony (1961-1964.) In 1965 (at age 29), he became assistant conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and remained there for 12 years (1965-1977.) From then on, his career in Europe was established. His American debut was in Philadelphia, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, in 1967. In 1974 (while still assisting in the Netherlands), he was appointed conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic (1974-1985.) Almost simultaneously, he was principal conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (1979-1982.) In 1985, he became conductor of the Baltimore Symphony where he remained for 14 years (1985-1998.) Prior to his last season with the Baltimore Symphony, he was appointed music director of the Tonhalle Orchestra (Zurich, Switzerland - 1995) where he remains up to this day. Zinman has conducted nearly every major orchestra in the world and his discography is very extensive, numbering well over 100. His recording of all nine Beethoven symphonies with the Tonhalle Orchestra was especially well-received. He has also been recognized for several of his recordings through major prizes (Grammys, Gramophone Award, Edison, Grand Prix du Disque, etc.) Zinman teaches at the Curtis Institute (Philadelphia) and is Director (since 1998) of the Aspen Music Festival which takes place over a two-month span every summer. In Zurich, he is known for having begun an innovative late night series of concerts called Tonhalle Late. In Baltimore, he was known for playing a considerable amount of contemporary music and a Saturday morning series of concerts called Casual Concerts. Despite brilliant skills and nearly universal acclaim and adulation, for reasons known only to a select few, David Zinman has never been Principal Conductor of any world-class orchestra – Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, New York, Berlin, Concertgebouw, London, Vienna and all the rest.

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