Musical America reports that the great American conductor James DePreist passed away this morning in Scottsdale, AZ, at 76, due to complications from an earlier heart attack. Born in Philadelphia in 1936, and the nephew of Marion Anderson, Mr. DePreist was a prominent, gifted musician who won the Dimitri Mitropoulos International Music Competition for Conductors in 1964, and spent more than two decades as the music director of the Oregon Symphony. He leaves behind numerous distinguished recordings.
In this 2009 video, Mr. DePreist tells Seattle journalist and composer Melinda Bargreen about his early career path. The video quality is nothing special, but the conversation certainly is. I'm glad to have had a few chances to see him conduct in person, notably a memorable Mahler Fifth Symphony with the Juilliard Orchestra, about which we exchanged pleasant emails after my New York Times review appeared.RIP, Mr. DePreist.