Star Walk

Pioneer, Music

Jacques Singer (1910 -1980) was a Polish born American conductor.  Jacques was trained in the violin from an early age, and began to give concerts in Poland at age seven. In 1921 his family moved to the U.S, settling in Jersey City. He began attending the Juilliard School in 1927 graduating in 1930.  While at Juilliard, he became a violinist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age eighteen, their youngest member at the time. Leopold Stokowski took an interest in him.  

With the recommendation of Stokowski, he made his conducting debut with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in1938. He remained with that orchestra from1938-1942.  During World War II Singer served as a private in the U.S. Army.  A guest conducting engagement with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra led to his appointment as a conductor of that orchestra from1947-1951. Singer resigned from the symphony over a disagreement with the board over the $19,000 budget deficit (the board wanted a shortened season). Singer next organized a rival orchestra, the British Columbia Philharmonic. At the first concert, Victoria Symphony Orchestra's conductor Hans Gruber called the orchestra unprepared and the chorus incompetent (in the Beethoven Ninth Symphony). The Vancouver Sun's music critic thought the same performance was "precise, glowing, alive".

On Broadway in 1952 he conducted performances of Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra and Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra.  In 1953 he guest conducted the Israel Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Radio Orchestra, and the Haifa Symphony.

He led his first concert for the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra on October 18, 1954, and served as conductor there 1955-1962. He was hired as the permanent conductor and music director of the Oregon Symphony from 1962-1972. Singer moved to New York next, where he conducted the American Symphony Orchestra.   He became an artist in residence at Northern Illinois University 1977-1980 and he conducted the Northern Illinois Philharmonic.  


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