- David Mermelstein
(b Kostzomo, Dec 25, 1902/Jan 7, 1903; d St Petersburg, June 6, 1999). Russian conductor and pedagogue. The son of a music-loving Jewish watchmaker, he was a gifted pianist, entering the Petrograd (later Leningrad) Conservatory in 1919 (on the same day as Shostakovich). After poor living conditions permanently damaged his hands, he changed to conducting in 1924, tutored by Nicolay Malko. He began teaching at the Leningrad Conservatory in 1929, and in 1937 became conductor of the Minsk PO. Forced to flee the advancing Germans during World War II, he, his wife and infant son undertook a perilous journey to safety on foot, returning to Leningrad in 1944. Refusing to join the Creative Union of Musicians and Composers, he ensured that top orchestral positions would never be his. Although praised for innovations in conducting technique, Musin considered himself tied to 19th-century Russian musical principles. By all accounts, he was a rigorous but beloved teacher with enormous respect for music and its inherent integrity. His numerous conducting pupils included Gergiyev, Temirkanov, Rudolf Barshay, the brothers Semyon Bychkov and Yakov Kreizberg, Sian Edwards and Martyn Brabbins. Musin did not travel outside Russia until ...