Monteux, Pierre

Monteux, Pierre

(pyĕr môNtö`), 1875–1964, French-American conductor, studied at the Paris Conservatory. As conductor (1911–14) of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, he directed the premieres of ballets by Stravinsky, Ravel, and Debussy. He came to the United States in 1916 to conduct the Ballets Russes on its American tour, and he remained for two seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City, and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1919 to 1924. For the next 10 years he appeared as guest conductor of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra. He became conductor of the Paris Symphony Orchestra in 1930 and of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in 1936. In 1942 he became a U.S. citizen. From 1961 until his death Monteux led the London Symphony Orchestra. He was known for the purity and self-restraint of his interpretations.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Monteux, Pierre


Born Apr. 4, 1875, in Paris; died July 1, 1964, in Hancock, Me. French conductor.

Monteux studied violin at the Paris Conservatory and was a violist and violinist in the Opera Comique and Societe des Concerts Colonne orchestras. He began his career as a conductor in his youth and became well known as the conductor for S. P. Diaghilev’s “Russian seasons “troupe. He took part in performances of Stravinsky’s Petrushka (1911), The Rite of Spring (1913), and The Nightingale (1914); Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe (1912); and Debussy’s Jeux (1913). In 1914 he organized the Concerts Monteux, which became popular. In subsequent years he was the conductor of a number of major American and European orchestras, including the Boston Symphony (1919–24), the Concertgebouw Orchestra (with W. Mengelberg, 1924–34), the Paris Symphony Orchestra (1928–37), the San Francisco Symphony (1935–52), and the London Symphony (from 1961). He made many concert tours, including three to the USSR (1926, 1931, and 1956).

A highly trained and educated musician, Monteux possessed a faultless sense of style and a masterly technique. The master of a vast repertoire, he showed a preference for complex new works, many of which, including Prokofiev’s Third Symphony, were first performed under his direction.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Monteux, Pierre (Benjamin)

(1875–1964) conductor; born in Paris, France. He studied violin before becoming the conductor of the famous Ballets Russes in 1911; he conducted their legendary world premiere of Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps (1913). He went to America in 1917 and held the podium of the Boston Symphony from 1919 to 1924. Returning to Paris he founded the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris and remained as its head until 1938. Meanwhile, in 1936 he also began a tenure as conductor of the San Francisco Symphony that lasted until 1952. In 1941 he established a summer school for conductors at Hanover, N.H. From 1960 until his death he worked with the London Symphony. He was known as a restrained but impeccable conductor, looking for the essence of the work rather than imposing himself on the music.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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