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Louis Hasselmans

Louis Hasselmans, born in Paris on 15th July 1878 into a prominent musical family of Belgian extraction, made his mark as a cellist, taking a first prize at the Conservatoire in 1893. He was principal of the Concerts Lamoureux and a member of the celebrated Quatuor Capet before turning to conducting. From 1909 to 1911 he was at the Opéra-Comique, and again in 1919-22, in Montreal in 1911-13 and at the Chicago Civic Opera in 1918-19. He was a close friend and colleague of Gabriel Fauré. In 1913 he conducted the first Paris performance of Pénélope and four years later Fauré dedicated his First Cello Sonata to him. Hasselmans first conducted at the Met on 20th January 1922 (Faust) and stayed for fifteen seasons, giving 378 performances of fourteen French operas including the Met premiÚres of Pelléas et Mélisande, L’heure espagnole and Don Quichotte. He died at San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 27th December 1957.

-- Tully Potter



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