Contino, Fiora Corradetti
- Jennifer W. Kelly
(b New York, June 17, 1925; d Carmel, IN, March 5, 2017).
American conductor. She studied violin, piano, and Gregorian chant as a child and was appointed organist at the parish of St. Ignatius Martyr in Long Beach, New York at the age of 12. Graduating from Oberlin College in piano performance, Contino accepted positions at Smith College and Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts) and founded the Amherst Community Opera. Contino continued her studies in France with Nadia Boulanger at the Conservatoire Américain at Fontainebleau, where she was awarded the 1960 Premier Prix Hors Concours in conducting. After obtaining Master’s and Doctorate degrees in conducting from Indiana University, Contino accepted a position as Director of Opera and Choral Activities at Bowling Green University (Ohio). She eventually returned to Indiana University as principal conductor and chair of the choral department; she also conducted the symphony, opera productions, and the Pro Arte early music ensemble. Contino appeared with major American opera companies and orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Opera Theatre, Memphis Opera Theatre, New Orleans Symphony, and Teatro Grattacielo in New York. She spent nearly two decades as Director of Opera Illinois and Director of the Choral Institute at the Aspen Music Festival. Her conducted repertoire focused on opera, choral-orchestral literature, and major symphonic works. Contino’s collaborations with Julius Herford taught her musical structure and analysis. Through the combined influences of Boulanger, Herford, and her father, Italian baritone Ferruccio Corradetti, Contino’s approach to vocal music was to sing the words, then the music. While Contino’s performances are noted for their precise ensemble, they are also celebrated for their emphasis on expression and drama....