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Victor Alessandro

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Name  Victor Alessandro
Role  Conductor

Victor Alessandro wwwokcphilharmonicorgWebsitesokcphilimagesAl
Died  November 27, 1976, San Antonio, Texas, United States
Albums  Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez / Concierto Andaluz / Vivaldi: Guitar Concertos
Similar People  Celin Romero, Celedonio Romero, Angel Romero, Pepe Romero, Joaquin Rodrigo

Education  Eastman School of Music

Victor Nicholas Alessandro (November 27, 1915 – November 27, 1976) was an American orchestral conductor.


Conducting career

In 1938, at age 22, he became conductor of the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra, an organization that he led from a WPA project to an accomplished ensemble with broad civic support. When Max Reiter, conductor of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, died in December 1950, Alessandro took over much of the remaining season; he signed a contract as permanent conductor in April 1951. The next year he also assumed leadership of the San Antonio Symphony Society's Grand Opera Festival.

Alessandro was at his best in works by Tchaikovsky, Wagner and Richard Strauss. He was a sympathetic interpreter of Johannes Brahms and the odd-numbered symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven. He introduced works by Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, and Alban Berg to San Antonio audiences before they became fashionable elsewhere. He conducted memorable performances of Elektra, Salome, Nabucco, Boris Godunov, Susannah, Die Meistersinger, and the standard operas of Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini. In building the San Antonio orchestra he was an exacting, often irascible taskmaster of high musical standards. But he was capable of less formidable moments as well; in February 1962, for instance, he dedicated a performance of Ein Heldenleben to the memory of Bruno Walter.

Growing up

He was born in Waco, Texas, on November 27, 1915. His father, Victor Alessandro (1883–1971) was a prominent conductor and music teacher in public schools. The Alessandros moved to Houston in 1919. Victor was introduced to music at an early age and studied French horn with his father. He made his conducting debut at age four, when he led a children's band in a performance of Victor Herbert's March of the Toys.

Higher education

In 1932, he entered the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he studied composition with Howard Hanson. He then studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum and the St. Cecilia Academy in Rome, where he studied with Ildebrando Pizzetti.


Alessandro received three honorary doctorates:

  • Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, 1948 (as of 1964, Alessandro was the only graduate of Eastman an honorary Ph.D. degree in music conferred on him by the University of Rochester)
  • Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, May 1975
  • Doctor of Humanities, Southern Methodist University, May 1956
  • In 1956, he received the Alice M. Ditson Award for service to American music.

    Selected discography

    Recordings of his work include Claude Debussy's Martyrdom of St. Sebastian (1950), light accompaniments (ca. 1953), Antonio Vivaldi and Rodrigo guitar concertos and works by Richard Strauss and John Corigliano (1967–68).


    In 1956, he married flutist Ruth Drisko (1926–1996). They had two children, Victor Tabbut Alessandro (born 1958) and Ruth Ann Alessandro (1959–1992). With his health declining, Alessandro retired in 1976. He died in San Antonio on November 27, 1976, his sixty-first birthday.


    Victor Alessandro Wikipedia