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Willis Page (Conductor)

Born: September 18, 1918 - Rochester, New York, USA

The American conductor, Willis page, graduated with Distinction, with Double Bass and Tuba Performer's Degrees, from the Eastman School of Music. He was a protege of Pierre Monteux.

Willis Page’s early work with the major orchestras the USA was as a double bass player - an interesting coincidence which parallels the early career of Serge Koussevitzky. He played double bass in the Rochester Philharmonic and Rochester Civic Orchestra (1937-1940); Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra (1940-1955); and was principal bass of the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Willis Page made his debut as conductor in 1951 with Mozart Requiem conducting the Boston Celelih Society. He was Associate Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic (under Josef Krips) from 1954 to 1959; Conductor of the Nashville Symphony (1959-1967); First Conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. Tokyo, Japan (on leave from Nashville; 1962-1963); Conductor of Des Moines Symphony (1969-1971); Conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra (1971-1984). Notably free from the old-school spectacular mannerisms, Willis Page conducted with a sure intensity of purpose - a spirit reflected in the orchestra he led. Thoroughly schooled in symphonic tradition, he brought a freshness to his musical material which was infectious.

Willis Page taught at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville (1960-1962), Eastman School of Music (1967-1969); and Drake University (1969-1971). He was Founder and Conductor of St. Johns River City Band in Jacksonville, Florida (1985-1986).

Recordings: Conducted 9 LP's with 65 members of Boston Symphony Orchestra; Themes from Great Symphonies, with Nashville Symphony; Rhapsody in Blue; Roger Williams and Symphony (formerly NBC Symphony Orchestra).

Willis Page married Barbara Jean Smith on Novemnber 9, 1940; they have 1 son, 1 daughter (Annette). Honour: Ford Foundation Travel Award (1967). Memberships: Phi Mu Alpha; Rotary Club of Jacksonville; Paul Harris Fellow (1984). Hobbies: Tennis; Reading; Astronomy.

Source: Liner notes to the LP ‘Stravinsky, Villa-Lobos & Bach’ (Cook Records, 1956); International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93); Bits & pieces from various websites
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2010)

Willias Page: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

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Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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