Dimitri Mitropoulos

Biography

Born: March 1, 1896; Athens, Greece   Died: November 2, 1960; Milan, Italy  
Conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos stood apart from the European traditions that dominated first-rank American orchestras for much of the twentieth century. After attending the Athens Conservatory, where he studied piano and composition, his opera Béatrice was presented there. The French composer Saint-Saëns was in the audience, and was so impressed that he arranged a scholarship that enabled the 24-year-old to study composition with the Belgian Read more composer Paul Gilson and piano with Busoni in Berlin. Busoni persuaded him to abandon composition and concentrate on becoming a conductor.

From 1921 to 1925, Mitropoulos assisted Erich Kleiber at the Berlin State Opera and on Kleiber's recommendation, was appointed conductor of the Hellenic Conservatory Symphony Orchestra in Athens. In 1927, he became conductor of the Greek State Symphony Orchestra and in 1930 was engaged to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, where he instituted the practice of conducting from the piano.

In 1937 Mitropoulos succeeded Eugene Ormandy as musical director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1937. He became a U.S. citizen in 1946, and remained in America until 1959. After 12 years in Minneapolis, he was invited to share the conductorship of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra with Stokowski, becoming its conductor when Stokowski resigned in 1950. Mitropoulos resigned the post after sharing the podium with Leonard Bernstein, his co-principal conductor, in the Orchestra's 1958 tour of Latin America. From 1954, he was a dynamic force as Bruno Walter's successor at New York's Metropolitan Opera, where he introduced many new operas, including ones by Richard Strauss and Samuel Barber.

Mitropoulos never conducted his own works, but considered his best composition to be a Concerto Grosso written in 1929. His lived simply and took little part in social activities. His conducting style was passionate, highly-charged and demonstrative; he had a phenomenal memory and rarely used a baton. The American composer and music critic Virgil Thomson once described him as "oversensitive, overweening, over brutal, over intelligent, underconfident and wholly without ease....His personal excitement borders on hysteria and he distorted music with nervous passion." Whether or not this judgement was true, or fair, he programmed much modern music and particularly admired Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School, such as Webern and Berg, as well as twentieth century American and British composers. His recording of Mahler's First Symphony made with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1941 was the first ever made in the U.S. of that work, and Mitropoulos was awarded the American Mahler Medal of Honor in 1950 for his work in promoting the composer's music. He died while rehearsing Mahler's Third Symphony with Toscanini's famous La Scala Orchestra. Read less
Mahler: Symphony No. 3; Debussy: La Mer / Mitropoulos, Cologne Rso
Release Date: 05/31/2011   Label: Ica Classics  
Catalog: 5021   Number of Discs: 2
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Berlioz: Requiem / Mitropoulos, Gedda, Cologne Radio Symphony
Release Date: 06/26/2012   Label: Ica Classics  
Catalog: 5075   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 96 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5; Capriccio Italien
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2396 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 2.
    Lucerne Festival Historic Performances - Mozart, Beethoven / Haskil, Casadesus
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 95623 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Clara Haskil,  Robert Casadesus
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer,  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22402 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Spoken Word,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Nikos Skalkottas  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 4.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22310 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Eleanor Steber
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 5.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22318 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 6.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7702567 Release Date: 06/14/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas
    Conductor:  Georges Sebastian,  Nicola Rescigno,  Georges Prêtre,  Antonino Votto  ... 
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  • 7.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7704647 Release Date: 05/24/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Strauss,  Carl Maria von Weber  ... 
    Performer:  Hermann Uhde,  Jerome Hines,  Lisa Della Casa,  Christel Goltz  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Stiedry,  Dimitri Mitropoulos,  H. Eckner,  Fausto Cleva  ... 
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  • 8.
    Hector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique; Nuits D'ete (Ii-vi)
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350071 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  Eleanor Steber
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 9.
    Puccini: La Fanciulla Del West / Mitropoulos, Steber, Del Monaco, Giacomo, Guelfi, Tozzi, Et Al
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 2080 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Giangiacomo Guelfi,  Vito Susca,  Enzo Viaro,  Eleanor Steber  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Puccini: The Great Operas [13-CD Set]
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 9011 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  Jussi Björling,  Robert Merrill,  John Reardon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Victor De Sabata,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Giuseppe Morelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Columbus Boychoir,  RCA Victor Chorus  ... 
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  • 11.
    Berlioz: Requiem / Mitropoulos, Gedda, Cologne Radio Symphony
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5075 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Orchestra,  Cologne Radio Chorus,  North German Radio Chorus
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  • 12.
    Mendelssohn: Symphonies 3 & 5, Capriccio Brillante / Mitroupoulos, Graudan
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9091 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Joanna Graudan
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Schmidt: Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln / Mitropoulos, Dermota, Berry
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9067 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schmidt
    Performer:  Anton Dermota,  Walter Berry,  Hilde Gueden,  Ira Malaniuk  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos,  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 14.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5; Violin Concerto
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0380 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Robert Casadesus,  Zino Francescatti
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 15.
    Berlioz: Grande Messe Des Morts / Gedda, Mitropoulos
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9038 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0468 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Shakeh Varkanasian,  Rosalind Elias,  Herta Glaz,  Ramon Vinay  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 17.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0083 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Myra Hess
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 18.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0126 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Renata [Soprano vocal] Tebaldi,  Cesare Siepi,  Mario Del Monaco,  Fedora Barbieri  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 19.
    Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera / Mitropoulos, Milanov, Peters, Anderson,  Peerce
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 791002 Release Date: 08/16/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Robert Merrill,  Roberta Peters,  Marian Anderson,  Zinka Milanov  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 20.
    Liszt: Piano Sonata, Dante Sonata, Piano Concertos / Claudio Arrau
    Label: Piano Classics   Catalog: 15 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau
    Conductor:  Hans Rosbaud,  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 21.
    Leon Kirchner: Orchestral Works / Kirchner, Mitropoulos, Hoagland
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1275 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leon Kirchner
    Performer:  Diana Hoagland,  Leon Kirchner
    Conductor:  Leon Kirchner,  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Former Harvard Chamber Orchestra,  Columbia Chamber Ensemble,  New York Philharmonic Society Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Schmidt: Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln / Mitropoulos, Dermota, Gueden, Wunderlich, Berry
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 68442 Release Date: 06/09/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schmidt
    Performer:  Alois Forrer,  Anton Dermota,  Ira Malaniuk,  Hilde Gueden  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Friends of Music Society,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Mahler: Symphony No. 3; Debussy: La Mer / Mitropoulos, Cologne Rso
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5021 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Gustav Mahler
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 / Mitropoulos, New York Philharmonic
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 402 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 25.
    Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos / Elman
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 868 Release Date: 02/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Mischa Elman
    Conductor:  Paul Paray,  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
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