is one of Americas most dynamic and versatile conductors. From Vienna to Beijing, he is internationally recognized by critics and audiences. After serving as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein beginning in 1961, he went on to the post of Music Director of the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra in 1962. In 1970, he also became leader for two years of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Leaving Texas in 1974, he went on to the Kansas City Philharmonic where he held the post of Music Director until 1980. He has also extensively conducted orchestras internationall, including the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. The Vienna State Opera, Rome;s Santa Cecilia Orchestra, the Czech Republics Brno Orkester, and the FOK Orkester at the Prague Festival, the Shanghai Radio and Television Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Barbican Centre Orchestra in London. Since the turn of the new century, he has toured extensively in China leading the Shanghai Opera Orchestra, the China National Symphony in Beijing and the Shenzhen Symphony.
Maestro Peress has conducted over twenty operas including Tristan, von Einums The Visit for the San Francisco Opera, and Candide at the Los Angeles Music Center, the Ravinia Festival, and at Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center). In 1996, he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor and Musical Advisor for Shanghais Broadcast Symphony Orchestra.
Since the early Eighties, Maurice Peress has made his home in New York City where he is on the faculty of the Aaron Copland School of Music. His guest conducting appearances have included the Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Houston, Utah, Cleveland and Houston Symphony Orchestras, the Orchestra of Saint Lukes and the American Composers Orchestra, the latter two in Carnegie Hall, the Bergamo/Brescia Festival, the Orchestra Santa Cecilia of Rome. In addition to appearances at the aforementioned Ravinia Festival, he has appeared with the Prague Philharmonic for its Spring Festival, Italys RAI Uno Gershwin Festival, and the Hong Kong and Melbourne Festivals.
In the summer of 1989, Maestro Peress researched and produced for Carnegie Hall a festival of three historic concerts: the first all black musical event in the Hall, The Clef Club concert of 1912; George Antheils Ballet Mecanique concert of 1927; and Duke Ellingtons Black Brown and Beige concert of 1943. During the past decade he made six unusual recordings for the Music Masters/Musical Heritage Society label and two for Naitonal Public Radio, the last, entitled Mostly Morton, being a tribute to Morton Gould on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Maurice Peress began reconstructing concerts from American music history in 1984, the first of which was the 1924 Aeolian Hall Concert at which Gershwin first played his Rhapsody in Blue. This was presented at New Yorks Town Hall..same day, hour, block...just sixty years later to a sell-out crowd. For the American Music Theater Festival based in Philadelphia, Peress reconstructed and developed Gershwins Strike Up the Band and Ellingtons Queenie Pie. He has edited and/or orchestrated five of Ellingtons symphonic works.
His research in American music has made Peress a leading authority on Antonin Dvoraks American period and has initiated invitations to give concerts and lectures throughout the USA, Germany and the Czech Republic. In 1997, he was invited to conduct the Brno Philharmonic in Smetanas monumental tone poem Ma Vlast in Pragues Zofin Hall where it received its premiere in 1879. His television documentary, Dvorak in America, has been produced for eventual release on Czech and and on PBS-TV here in the USA. His knowledge of the genre is now available in a book entitled Living with American Music: From Dvorak to Duke Ellington published by Oxford University Press.
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