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Sergiu Comissiona

Biography

Born: June 16, 1928; Bucharest, Romania   Died: March 5, 2005; Oklahoma City, OK  
Sergiu Comissiona became one of the leading conductors of the twentieth century, particularly respected for his abilities as an orchestra-builder.

He studied conducting at the Bucharest Conservatory, and then privately with Silvestri and Lindenberg. He made his conducting debut at the age of 17, leading a performance of Gounod's opera Faust in the Rumanian town of Silbiu.

His first professional engagement was as a
Read more violinist in the Bucharest Radio Quartet in 1947 and also as a violinist in the Rumanian State Ensemble in 1947. Meanwhile, he had debuted as a conductor in 1946 with the Rumanian State Opera Orchestra. In 1948 he received an appointment as assistant conductor of the Rumanian State Ensemble, which consisted of an orchestra, a chorus, and dancers. He became its musical director from 1950 to 1955.

In 1955, he became principal conductor of the Rumanian State Opera. In 1956, he won the prestigious Besançon Conducting Competition. His Jewish heritage drew him to emigrate to Israel in 1959, where he was soon appointed musical director of the Haifa Symphony Orchestra the same year. In 1960 he founded and was appointed musical director of the Ramat Gan Chamber Orchestra. He began to appear as guest conductor in Europe, including his British debut, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1960. His first North American appearance was taking the Israel Chamber Orchestra on tour in 1963. In 1965 he appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and he frequently guest conducted at the Royal Ballet in London's Covent Garden from 1962 to 1966. He became a favorite for his renditions of Tchaikovsky's and Stravinsky's ballets. In 1966, he resigned from the Haifa Symphony.

In the same year he was appointed musical director of the Göteborg (Gothenburg) Symphony Orchestra in Sweden (remaining there into 1977), and in 1967 he gave up his chamber orchestra position in Israel to become principal conductor of the Northern Ireland Orchestra in Belfast (1967 -- 1968). In 1969 he was appointed music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and moved his home to that city in the state of Maryland, a historic east coast port city near Washington, D.C.

In both cities, he was credited with making immediate continuous and marked improvements in the orchestras' standards. He stayed in Baltimore for 17 seasons. Critic Stephen Wigler of the Baltimore Sun said, "The modern Baltimore Symphony was created by Sergiu Comissiona." When his application to become a naturalized United States citizen was accepted, Comissiona chose to receive his citizenship oath in a historical ceremony held on America's Bicentennial Day (July 4, 1976) at Fort McHenry in Baltimore (famed as the site of the events that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner"). During his tenure in Baltimore, he also was musical director of some music festivals and of the American Symphony Orchestra in New York (1977 -- 1982). When he left the Baltimore Symphony in 1986, he was appointed Conductor Laureate, and continues to make appearances with them.

In 1990 he became Chief Conductor of the Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra in Madrid, a position that continued until 1998, and from 1990 -- 1994 held the same position with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also been associated with shorter appointments with several other orchestras. Also in 1990 he became music director of the CBC Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and is also music director of the Asian Youth Orchestra, which he has taken on a major European tour. He is characterized by rich, clear, fiery interpretations and a knack for innovative, wide-ranging choices of repertory. Read less
Browse 1-20 of 20 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Walker: Mass; Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 / Walker, Comissiona, Hanson
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1447 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Walker,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Norma Hirsch,  Abraham Lind-oquendo,  Claudia Lindsay,  William Brown  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona,  Dr. Nathan Carter,  Howard Hanson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Morgan State College Choir,  Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 2.
    Picker: Symphony No 2, Etc / Comissiona, Houston Symphony
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 79246 Release Date: 06/23/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tobias Picker
    Performer:  Leona Mitchell
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Houston Symphony Orchestra,  Mendelssohn String Quartet
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  • 3.
    Label: Caprice Records   Catalog: 21326 Release Date: 04/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dag Wirén
    Performer:  Nils-Erik Sparf
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona,  Jan-Olav Wedin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Wind Quintet
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  • 4.
    Label: Caprice Records   Catalog: 21365 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Karl-Birger Blomdahl
    Performer:  Elisabeth Söderström
    Conductor:  Sixten Ehrling,  Antal Doráti,  Sergiu Comissiona,  Yuri Ahronovitch
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  • 5.
    Tchaikovsky: Music For Piano & Orchestra / Jerome Lowenthal
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9301 Release Date: 07/14/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Jerome Lowenthal
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Hommage To Sibelius / Comissiona, Helsinki Phil Orch
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: ODE767 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Thea Musgrave,  Sven Einar Englund,  Joji Yuasa  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Vladimir Orloff - Vol 2: Boccherini, Valentini, Etc
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7896 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Vladimir Orloff
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra
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  • 8.
    The Best Thunderous Classics
    Label: Sheridan Square   Catalog: 2016 Release Date: 01/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Franz Liszt,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Sergiu Comissiona,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $6.99
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  • 9.
    Historical - Ravel: Concerto For Left Hand, Etc / Fleisher
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1614 Release Date: 03/22/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 10.
    Tobias Picker: Symphony No 2, String Quartet No 1
    Label: First Edition   Catalog: 29 Release Date: 09/14/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tobias Picker
    Performer:  Leona Mitchell
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Houston Symphony Orchestra,  Mendelssohn String Quartet
    CD: $12.99
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  • 11.
    Masterpieces - Respighi: Orchestral Works
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1227 Release Date: 07/27/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ottorino Respighi
    Conductor:  Christopher Lyndon-Gee,  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Chamber Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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  • 12.
    The Art Of Alicia De Larrocha
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000018002 Release Date: 06/10/2003   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ferruccio Busoni,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  Sergiu Comissiona,  Charles Dutoit,  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $55.98
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  • 13.
    Revolution And Discovery - Balada
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 343 Release Date: 12/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonardo Balada
    Performer:  Alberto Almarza,  Anthony Bianco
    Conductor:  Eduardo Alonso-Crespo,  Sergiu Comissiona,  Manuel Galduf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Ensemble,  Latinoamericano String Quartet,  Spanish Radio/TV Orchestra  ... 
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  • 14.
    Liszt: Works For Piano And Orchestra / Lowenthal
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 4803 Release Date: 07/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Jerome Lowenthal,  Robert Davidovici,  Brent Akins,  Lee Duckels  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vancouver Symphony
    CD: $17.99
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  • 15.
    Poulenc: Organ Concerto, Concert Champêtre, Etc
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 448270 Release Date: 10/14/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc
    Performer:  Sylvia Greenberg,  George Malcolm,  Alexander Wolkovski,  Bracha Eden  ... 
    Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos,  Iona Brown,  Sergiu Comissiona,  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lausanne Pro Arte Chorus,  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus,  Suisse Romande Orchestra  ... 
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    On sale! $24.98
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  • 16.
    Brahms/Schoenberg: Piano Quartet / Comissiona, Baltimore
    Label: Vox Allegretto   Catalog: 8196 Release Date: 08/30/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    CD not available
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  • 17.
    Laderman: Concerto For Orchestra;  Britten: Diversions
    Label: Phoenix Usa   Catalog: 122 Release Date: 04/16/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ezra Laderman,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    Conductor:  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 18.
    American Masters - Leslie Bassett: Variations, Sextet, Etc
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 677 Release Date: 11/29/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leslie Bassett
    Performer:  Andrew Jennings,  Norman Fischer,  John Kochanowski,  Mark Sokol  ... 
    Conductor:  Jonathan Sternberg,  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Radio Symphony,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Concord String Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    Lazarof: Concerto For Flute, Spectrum, Canti, Etc / Galway
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 588 Release Date: 04/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Lazarof
    Performer:  James Galway,  Thomas Stevens
    Conductor:  Henri Lazarof,  Sergiu Comissiona,  Roger Wagner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Utah Symphony Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    Falla: Nights In The Gardens Of Spain, La Vida Breve, Etc
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 4177712 Release Date: 08/25/1988   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alicia De Larrocha
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Sergiu Comissiona
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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