Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nahan Franko

Nahan Franko was an American violinist, conductor, and concert promoter born (in New Orleans) on July 23, 1861 (Brahms was 28 years old.) He made his New York debut in 1869, at age eight, and then went on to study with Joseph Joachim and August Wilhelmj in Europe. Instead of embarking on a solo career, he played in professional orchestras most of his life. He became the concertmaster of the Metropolitan Orchestra in 1883, at age 22, and stayed until 1907. On November 30, 1904, at age 33, he conducted Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, thus becoming the first American conductor to conduct at the Met. He subsequently conducted there more than sixty times, though not all of his performances were opera productions. As an assistant conductor and concertmaster he was being paid what would be about $96,000 in today’s dollars. (Today’s concertmasters earn about $350,000.) In 1908, he was one of the first to present open air concerts in New York City. An interesting piece of trivia about him is that he was (briefly), the brother-in-law of the owner of the New York Yankees (Jacob Ruppert.) Franko died on June 7, 1930, at age 68.

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