Shoot the Conductor: Too Close to Monteux, Szell, and Ormandy

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University of North Texas Press, Jul 15, 2015 - Biography & Autobiography - 336 pages
Anshel Brusilow was born in 1928 and raised in Philadelphia by musical Russian Jewish parents in a neighborhood where practicing your instrument was as normal as hanging out the laundry. By the time he was sixteen he was appearing as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He also met Pierre Monteux at sixteen, when Monteux accepted him into his summer conducting school. Under George Szell, Brusilow was associate concertmaster at the Cleveland Orchestra until Ormandy snatched him away to make him concertmaster in Philadelphia, where he remained from 1959 to 1966. Ormandy and Brusilow had a father-son relationship, but Brusilow could not resist conducting, to Ormandy's great displeasure. By the time he was forty, Brusilow had sold his violin and formed his own chamber orchestra in Philadelphia with more than a hundred performances per year. For three years he was conductor of the Dallas Symphony, until he went on to shape the orchestral programs at Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas.  Brusilow played with or conducted many top-tier classical musicians, and he has opinions about each and every one. He also made many recordings. Co-written with Robin Underdahl, his memoir is a fascinating and unique view of American classical music during an important era, as well as an inspiring story of a working-class immigrant child making good in a tough arena. 

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I haven't read the book yet, but I did check out the "Nat Brusiloff" pages. I am glad to see that Mr. Brusilow remembered Nat Brusiloff -- who was responsible for finding him a sponsor so he could play in Carnegie Hall when he was a very young (and unknown) violinist. And, yes, the Brusilows and Brusiloff are related, but we do not know how.
Carol Brusiloff Mizrahi


Chapter 1 I Came by It Honestly
Chapter 2 My Several Educations
Chapter 3 Ill Do As I Please
Chapter 4 Szellian Perfection
Chapter 5 This Is the Philadelphia Orchestra
Illustration Gallery
Chapter 6 The Bow and the Baton
Chapter 7 This Isnt the Philadelphia Orchestra
Chapter 8 Into the Wild West
Chapter 9 The Less Wild West
Chapter 10 In Good Company

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About the author (2015)

After a long and distinguished career in music, Anshel Brusilow retired from conducting the Richardson Symphony and lives in Dallas. Robin Underdahl holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia University and writes fiction, nonfiction, and memoir. She also lives in Dallas.

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