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Willy Ferrero (Conductor)

Born: March 21, 1906 - Portland, Maine, USA
Died: March 24, 1954 - Rome, Italy

The American-born Italian conductor and composer, Willy Ferrero, was born in Portland and was taken to Italy by his parents at age of 2. He was a musical prodigy and directed several symphonic pieces at the Trocadero in Paris at age of 3 years, 8 months. The great composer Massenet was among those who assisted at this concert and moved to the point of shedding tears he kissed the tiny director and exclaimed, “Go, you are born artist. Of you history will certainly speak”. At age of 4 he led orchestra in the Follies Bergere in Paris. On October 11, 1912 (age 6 years), he directed his first symphonic concert in Rome at the Teatro Costanzi. On February 11, 1913, he directed the Imperial Orchestra of 120 performers at St. Petersburg at the invitation of His Majesty the Tzar of Russia, Nicholas II, and was given the ensign of the Order of St. Stanislaus, a gold medallion and other valuable presents. He went on to conduct with great success throughout Europe. In 1914 he directed orchestra at Albert Hall in London; was decorated by Queen Alexandria and was presented with Gold Medal by the Italian Minister of Education after successful appearances in the Augusteum, where he conducted and orchestra and chorus of 500. In 1913 he was invited to the Vatican by Pope Pius X, and again in 1917 by Pope Benedict XV, and was presented by him with a large medallion. As a musical prodigy he received encomiums from Leopoldo Mugnone, Mo. Comm.; Sgambati, Director of the Royal Conservatory of S. Cecilia, Rome; Alberto Masco, critic of Tribuna; Prince Sergio Wolskonski, former director Imperial Theatre, St. Petersburg; Glasunof, director Conservatory of St. Petersburg; Prof. L. Auer; Prof. Nicola Solowieff; G. Tartascof, baritone of the Imperial Opera; A. Klessin, director of Imperial Orchestra; Prof. Sokoloff of the Academy of Fine Arts, and many others.

After studies at the Vienna Academy of Music (graduated, 1924), Willy Ferrero resumed his career, appearing as orchestra leader in many of the larger cities of Italy, but never fulfilled his early promise. He wrote a symphonic poem, II mistero dell' aurora, and some chamber music.

Source: Music and Musicians of Maine by George Thornton Edwards; Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2010)

Recordings of Arrangements/Transcriptions of Bach’s Works




Willy Fererro


Bach-Pick-Mangiagalli: Prelude & Fugue in D minor, K 539: Prelude, transcribed for string orchestra
Bach-Pick-Mangiagalli: Prelude (Mvt. 1) from Partita for solo violin No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006, transcribed for string orchestra

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