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Fabien Sevitzky (Conductor, Arranger)

Born: September 29, 1891 - Vishny Volochok, Russia
Died: February 2, 1967.- Athens, Greek

The Russian-born American conductor, Fabien Sevitzky (real name: Koussevitzky), nephew of Serge (Alexandrovich) Koussevitzky, studied double bass at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he graduated in 1911 with its gold medal.

After his studies, Fabien Sevitzky played in orchestras, made appearances as a soloist, and began his conducting career. His uncle, who was already a celebrated double bass player himself, suggested that he adopt a truncated form of the last name, and he complied to avoid a family quarrel. In 1922-1923 he played in the Orchestra of the Warsaw Opera and in the Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.

With his wife, the Russian singer Maria Koussevitzky, Fabien Sevitzky went to Mexico in 1923; then emigrated to the USA, becoming a naruralized American citizen in 1928. He played in the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1923 to 1930; organized the Philadelphia Chamber String Sinfoniena in 1925, was the principle conductor of the Boston People's Symphony Orchestra and led several other ensembles in Boston from 1930. In 1936, Sevitzky appeared as a guest conductor with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra which led him to become that orchestra's Music Director the following year. He held the post of chief conductor with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra until 1955. Under Sevitzky's baton, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra rose to great international prominence. The orchestra was well known for touring within the USA, perfoming on radio broadcasts and recording on major record lables, often with some of the world's finest soloists.

After his long tenture with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Fabien Sevitzky was music director of the University of Miami Symphony Orchestra (1959-1965), and the Greater Miami Philharmonic Orchestra (1965-1966). He died while on a visit to Athens to conduct the State Orchestra.

Fabien Sevitzky orchestrated several works by J.S. Bach. Other orchestrations by him include: W. Pogojeff: Prelude [1929]; Fritz Kreisler: Prelude & Allegro in E minor; Sgambati: Vecchio Minuetto; George Frideric Handel: Allegro, Sarabande & Gigue [ Ricordi, c1941]; Frances McCollin: All glory, laud and honor; Russian folk song for string orchestra.

During his teenage years, Akira Ifukube corresponded regularly with Maestro Fabien Sevitzky. A friendship developed as a result and this led Sevitzky to conduct the world premiere of Japanese Rhapsody in 1936 with the Boston People's Symphony Orchestra in Boston. In 1954, Sevitzky conducted the world premiere of Ifukube's Sinfonia Tapkaara with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in Indianapolis.

Source: Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); Akira Ifukube Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2009); Aggelos Tsompanidis (Photos, September 2009))

Fabien Sevitzky: Short Biography | Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Works | Recordings of Works for Orchestra

Links to other Sites

Fabien Sevitzky (Damian's 78s)
AKIRAIFUKUBE.ORG - Ifukube and Company

Fabien Sevitzky (Wikipedia)

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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