Alfredo Antonini

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Alfredo Antonini (May 31, 1901 – November 3, 1983) was a leading Italian/American symphony conductor and composer who was active on the international concert stage as well as on the CBS radio and television networks from the 1930s through the 1960s.[1][2][3][4] In 1971 he received an Emmy Award for best musical performance on television for his conducting of the premiere of Ezra Laderman's opera And David Wept for CBS television.[5]

Biography[edit]

Maestro Antonini was born in Milan, Italy and pursued his musical studies at the Royal Conservatory in Milan. He was a student of the legendary Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini.

During the 1940s he distinguished himself as a conductor of several leading orchestras while performing on the CBS radio network. These included: the CBS Pan American Orchestra (1940–1949), the Columbia Concert Orchestra (1940–1949) and the CBS Symphony Orchestra.

He also conducted live radio broadcasts of the popular program Viva America[1] on the CBS radio network and La Cadena de las Americas (Network of the Americas) in collaboration with such noted artists as Nestor Chayres (Mexican tenor aka "El Gitano De Mexico")[2] Terig Tucci (Argentine composer/arranger) and John Serry, Sr. (Italian-American concert accordionist).[6] He also appeared with Nestor Chayres (tenor) at the Night of the Americas Concert series at Carnegie Hall.[7] His performances with the Carnegie Hall Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall were eagerly anticipated by the general public.[8][9] Additional performances in collaboration with Juan Arvizu ("El Troubador de las Americas") and the CBS Tipica Orchestra for the Inter-America Music Fiesta at Carnegie Hall attracted widespread acclaim.[10][11]

As a musical director at CBS Television during the 1950s, Mr. Antonini was instrumental in presenting an extensive program of classical and operatic music to the general public. His collaboration with Julie Andrews, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II in a production of Cinderella for CBS television was critically acclaimed in 1957 and was telecast live to an audience of 107 million people.[12] During this decade he also appeared in concert with such operatic divas as Eileen Farrell (soprano) and Beverly Sills (soprano).[13] Later in this decade (1957) Mr. Antonini emerged as the musical director and conductor of the Tampa Philharmonic in Florida.

Maestro Antonini also served as a conductor of the popular open air summer concerts held at the landmark Lewisohn Stadium in New York City during the 1950s. His appearances with the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and the Lewisohn Stadium Orchestra during the series of Italian Night concerts frequently attracted audiences which exceeded 13,000 guests. These performances featured arias from the standard Italian operatic repertoire and showcased such operatic luminaries as: Jan Peerce, Eileen Farrell, Richard Tucker, Beverly Sills and Robert Merrill [13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

In addition to performing as a conductor on WOR radio in New York during the 1940s, he appeared as a guest conductor for leading symphonic orchestras in Chicago, IL, Milwaukee, WI, Oslo, Norway, and Chile during the 1950s. In the 1960s Maestro Antonini also appeared as a guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic at Philharmonic Hall during a grand opera benefit concert which featured the artistry of Jan Peerce and Robert Merrill.[24] Throughout the 1960s he continued to collaborate with such operatic luminaries as Jan Peerce (tenor), Robert Merrill (baritone)and Franco Corelli (tenor) in a variety of gala concerts.[24][25] He also performed with Roberta Peters at the Lewisohn Stadium at City College for an audience of thousands.[26]

Maestro Antonini's musical legacy has been preserved on a variety of LP recordings which reflect his interest in symphonic compositions, popular music from Latin-America and grand opera. He has recorded for Coral Records, Columbia Masterworks and SESAC Records.

Compositions[edit]

  • The Great City
  • Sarabande
  • Sicilian Rhapsody
  • Suite for Cello and Orchestra
  • Preludes for Organ
  • Suite for Strings
  • The United States of America, Circa 1790
  • Mambo Tropical

Albums[edit]

  • Cinderella, vocalist Julie Andrews, Columbia Masterworks (OL5190), 12 Inch LP, 1957?
  • American Fantasy, SESAC Records, 33 RPM LP, 195?
  • Atmosphere, Coral Records, 33PRM LP, 195?
  • Romantic Classics, SESAC Records, 33 RPM LP, 195?
  • Amapola, vocalist: Nino Matini, Columbia Masterworks, 78 RPM, 194?
  • Alfredo Antonini & The Columbia Concert Orchestra, soloist Richard Tucker, Columbia Materworks, 78 RPM, 194?
  • Music of the Americas, Pilotone Album, 78 RPM LP, 194?

References[edit]

  1. ^ The New York Times, July 2, 1948, pg. 24
  2. ^ The New York Times, October 5, 1948, pg. 30
  3. ^ The New York Times, April 25, 1957, pg. 34
  4. ^ The New York Times, February 12, 1960, pg. 22
  5. ^ "Obituaries: Conductor Alfredo Antonini". Central Opera Service Bulletin, Vol. 25, No. 2. Winter–Spring 1984. 
  6. ^ The New York Times', June 9, 1946, pg. 49.
  7. ^ The New York Times, May 12, 1946, pg. 42
  8. ^ The New York Times, May 17, 1947, pg. 8
  9. ^ The New York Times, May 4, 1950, pg. 37
  10. ^ The New York Times, October 27, 1941, pg. 21
  11. ^ The New York Times, February 1, 1942, pg. D2
  12. ^ The New York Times, March 31, 1957, pg. 106
  13. ^ a b The New York Times, July 9, 1956, pg. 26
  14. ^ The New York Times, July 24, 1950, pg. 26
  15. ^ The New York Times, July 11, 1952, pg. 13
  16. ^ The New York Times, July 18, 1952, pg 10
  17. ^ The New York Times, July 20, 1953, pg. 14
  18. ^ The New York Times, July 10, 1954, pg. 6
  19. ^ The New York Times, June 12, 1955, pg. X7
  20. ^ The New York Times, May 14, 1958, pg. 36
  21. ^ The New York Times, July 30, 1958, pg. 19
  22. ^ The New York Times, May 6, 1959, pg 48
  23. ^ The New York Times, May 14, 1959, pg. 29
  24. ^ a b The New York Times, December 6, 1964, pg. 114
  25. ^ The New York Times, November 14, 1965, pg. 101
  26. ^ The New York Times, July 30, 1962, pg. 14