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Classical 101

Mary Hoffman Archive: Thomas Schippers

WOSU Public Media
The Mary Hoffman Archives give the listener a peek at the past through the lense of music interviews. Its radio history at its best.

Mary Hoffman, long time program director for WOSU has gifted us with her interviews with some of the world's great musicians, done between the mid 1960s to the 1980s. Mary spoke to absolutely everyone, and as you'll hear, they were all delighted to speak with her:

In 1975, Mary spoke with conductor Thomas Schippers ​(1930-1977) . Schippers conducted at the New York City Opera in 1951 and made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955. He was the youngest conductor to appear at the Met. He was associated with the company, for several years as de facto music director, until his early death. Schippers was music director of the Cincinnati Symphony from 1971 until he died.

In this audio clip, we hear him talking about the Cincinnati Symphony and Music Hall early in the interview. Listen as he describes the hall's "recent renovations" and a building upgrade of the neighborhood. Same thing happened forty years later!

His career was closely aligned with composersGian Carlo Menotti and Samuel Barber. It was Thomas Schippers who conducted the first performance Amahl and the Night Visitors, on NBC TV, Christmas Eve, 1951. Schippers was 21 years old. In 1966, Schippers conducted the world premier of Barbers' Antony and Cleopatra, which was written to open the new Metropolitan Opera house at Lincoln Center.

Credit Wikipedia
homas Schippers, born in Kalamazoo, MI in 1930, died in New York in 1977-Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony from 1971 until his death.

Mary's conversation with Thomas Schippers took place while he was doing a state wide tour of Ohio with the Cincinnati Symphony. This was in 1975, two years before his death from lung cancer (and you'll hear references to smoking)

Though the references are dated , there is so little of Thomas Schippers online, and his career was so important that I thought posting the entire interview worthwhile.

Thank you, Mary.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.