Dimitri Mitropoulos — the Greek-born conductor, pianist, and composer — first conducted the New York Philharmonic in 1940. His association with the Orchestra would last until his death in 1960, a 20-year span that included his tenure as Music Director (1949–58) and 764 performances around the world, including premieres of works by many of the most celebrated composers of the era.
Noted for his meticulousness as much as his championing of contemporary music, Mitropoulos would go through and carefully mark up his scores, committing each note to memory before the first rehearsal. Now, for the first time, more than 120 of his marked scores are available to the public through the NY Phil Shelby White & Leon Levy Digital Archives. Included in the collection are the scores of numerous works that received either their US or World Premieres with the NY Phil, including pieces by Schoenberg, Mahler, Barber, Schuller, and Krenek.
The material was loaned to the Philharmonic by the University of Iowa’s Rita Benton Music Library; they mark the most significant addition of music to the NY Phil Digital Archives since the launch of Leonard Bernstein’s collection in 2011. They join marked scores from past Music Directors and conductors such as Mahler, Arturo Toscanini, Artur Rodziński, Erich Leinsdorf, Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, and Kurt Masur.
This public unveiling of the scores coincides with the release of Sony Classical’s new 69-CD box set of Mitropoulos’s complete recordings for RCA and Columbia, many of which were recorded during his tenure as the NY Phil’s Music Director.