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Subscriber: null; date: 17 September 2019

Comissiona, Sergiulocked

  • Charles Barber
  •  and José A. Bowen

(b Bucharest, June 16, 1928; d Oklahoma City, March 5, 2005). Israeli and American conductor of Romanian birth. He studied the violin and conducting at the Bucharest Conservatory, continuing his conducting studies with Silvestri and Lindenberg. After his début with the Romanian State Opera with Faust in 1946, he joined the Bucharest Radio Quartet and the Romanian State Ensemble as a violinist, becoming musical director of the latter (1950–55). He was principal conductor of the Romanian State Opera (1955–9) in Bucharest and won the 1956 conducting competition in Besançon. He emigrated to Israel (becoming naturalized in 1959) and became musical director of the Haifa SO (1959–66) and founder-conductor of the Ramat Gan Chamber Orchestra (1960–67). He made his British début with the LPO in 1960, and his US début with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1965; his success led to many engagements as a guest conductor, including the Boston SO, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco SO, New York PO and the Berlin SO. His musical directorships included the Göteborg SO (1966–77), Baltimore SO (1969–84), Chautauqua SO (1976–80), American SO (1978–82), Houston SO (1978–87), Helsinki PO (1990–95), Radio-Televisión Orquesta Sinfónica, Madrid (from 1990), and Vancouver SO (1991–2000). He was also associated with several radio and regional orchestras in Europe, and frequently conducted opera, chiefly at Covent Garden and the New York City Opera. Comissiona was a colourful personality in performance, with a clear preference for Romantic and Impressionist repertory. His recordings include Franck's Symphony, Saint-Saëns's Symphony no.3 and works by Ravel, Sibelius, Blomdahl and Wirén. He received the Romanian Order of Merit, the City of Göteborg cultural award, and honorary degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the Peabody Conservatory.