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Maurice Abravanel (1903 - 1993)

Maurice Abravanel was born in Greece of Portuguese Jewish parents, who moved to Switzerland when he was six. A close neighbour of Ernest Ansermet, he met at Ansermet’s home many distinguished musical figures, including Stravinsky, Honegger and Poulenc. He went on to study medicine at Lausanne University where he organised an orchestra of students. Having abandoned his medical studies for music, on the advice of Busoni Abravanel went to study with Kurt Weill in Berlin in 1922. In 1924 he conducted for the first time, and thenceforth he appeared in a succession of provincial German cities, including Altenberg and Kassel, as well as at the Berlin State Opera. He moved to Paris in 1933 where he became music director of George Balanchine’s ballet company, which performed in London and Paris. In 1934 he toured Australia as a conductor of the British National Opera Company, and returned there for the 1935–1936 season. Encouraged by Bruno Walter and Wilhelm Furtwängler he travelled to America and made a sensational



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