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Maurice Kaplow (June 24, 1930– ) is a United States-born conductor and composer, internationally recognized for his achievements in the arts. He has had a varied career as violist, conductor, teacher and composer.
In America, Kaplow performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Philadelphia Chamber Symphony, and the North Carolina Symphony. In England, Kaplow performed with the London Philharmonic. He founded the Pennsylvania Orchestra and was the initial Music Director for the Pennsylvania Ballet. After thirty years with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Kaplow joined the New York City Ballet and was named Principal Conductor. Kaplow retired from performing at the age of 80, on June 24th, 2010, conducting the New York City Ballet.
Maurice Kaplow was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised by his Russian-born parents, Max and Mollie Kaplow. At a very young age, he studied violin with his father. At five years old, he performed "I See Stars" on a local Cleveland-based radio station. Kaplow continued his musical studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Eastman School of Music.
Kaplow was the youngest member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, playing viola for Eugene Ormandy, Leopold Stokowski, Fritz Reiner, among others. Although he enjoyed playing the viola, he wanted to continue his musical studies and pursue a career as a conductor. He studied conducting under the tutelage of Pierre Monteux at Monteux's Hancock, Maine school.
Pennsylvania Orchestra and Ballet
In 1964, Kaplow became the first Music Director of the Pennsylvania Ballet, and the Pennsylvania Orchestra. The Pennsylvania Orchestra participated in the critically acclaimed "Sights and Sounds of Seven Centuries", performing works from 13th century Perotin to 20th century Stockhausen. The orchestra initiated a program called “Renaissance Revisited” performing authentic dances from the 16th century using renaissance instruments. The Pennsylvania Ballet performed the U.S.A premiere of Penderecki’s, “Flourences, Anaklasis, and the Cello Sonata” choreographed by John Butler. Kaplow was commissioned to write a piece for the Bicentennial by Penn State University, a tone poem called “Return”. Reviews from the performances called Kaplow "exuberant".  Subsequently, Kaplow collaborated with Benjamin Harkarvy to write a ballet with a variation for every member of The Pennsylvania Ballet, called “Signatures” and was performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, as well as on tour. In June, 1984, Kaplow conducted a performance of Apollo, featuring Rudolf Nureyev and Suzanne Farrell.  It was during this time, that Kaplow was introduced to Peter Martins, then Artistic Adviser at the New York City Ballet.
New York City Ballet
In 1990, he was invited by Peter Martins to guest conduct the New York City Ballet and the next year joined the company as a full time Conductor. During the years he was with the company, he conducted for dancers such as Kyra Nichols, Jock Soto, Merrill Ashley, Helene Alexopoulos, Damien Woetzel, Nicholaj Hubbe, Darci Kistler, and Peter Boal. In 2005, he was appointed Principal Conductor for The New York City Ballet.
As a member of the StringArt quartet and the Contemporary Chamber Music Society, he played works by Schoenberg, Webern, Bartok, and Rochberg, in addition to the standard repetoire. He has been a Guest Conductor for The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, The London Philharmonic, The Pittsburgh Symphony, The Philadelphia Chamber Symphony, The North Carolina Symphony, and The Zagreb Philharmonic.
His composition “Five Pieces for Violin and Piano” had its world premiere at New York University, November, 2009, performed by Arturo Delmoni and Doris Stevenson.
- Hughes, A. The New York Times, page 33. October 31, 1964.
- Pavelko, K: Daily Collegian, July 30, 1976.
- Kissellgoff, A: The New York Times, Arts, 1984.