John Mauceri’s distinguished and extraordinary career has brought him not only to the world’s greatest opera companies and symphony orchestras, but also to the musical stages of Broadway and Hollywood, as well as the most prestigious halls of academia. Regarded as the world’s leading performer of the music of Hollywood’s émigré composers as well as composers outlawed by the Third Reich, he has taken the lead in the restoration and performance of many kinds of music and is an internationally published author of three books, and a recording artist with over 70 albums to his name.
Maestro Mauceri has championed forgotten composers and underrepresented works for more than fifty years and was given the prestigious Ditson Award on the stage of Carnegie Hall by Columbia University for “a career spanning five decades [to] become one of the world’s leading authorities of… film scores and Broadway musicals.” Mr. Mauceri has been entrusted with editing and restoring works controlled by the families and estates of Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Harold Arlen, Marc Blitzstein, Kurt Weill, and Leonard Bernstein.
A graduate of Yale, he was appointed to the university’s faculty at twenty-one, serving for fifteen years and occasionally returning as a visiting professor. He has lectured at Harvard university, Columbia University, New York University, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the American Academy in Berlin, Vienna’s Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst, the Royal College of Music (London), the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles. He is the former music director of four opera companies and three symphony orchestras and has conducted most of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras and opera companies. For eighteen years, he worked with Leonard Bernstein as both an editor and trusted colleague, conducting many of the composer’s premieres at Mr. Bernstein’s request.
For sixteen seasons, Maestro Mauceri led the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, which was created for him by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, conducting an unprecedented 325 concerts that played to sold-out houses at the 18,000-seat amphitheater, with a combined audience of four million people. Beginning in 1991, he worked on creating the electronic systems that allow orchestras and conductors to accompany films in "live-to-picture" concerts, which has transformed the symphonic world in the subsequent decades.
Mr. Mauceri has worked with the greatest pop, jazz, rock, Broadway, and classical artists, including Madonna (the soundtrack to Evita) Billie Eilish, Lang Lang, Leontyne Price, Herbie Hancock, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Santana, Josh Groban, Garth Brooks, Patti LuPone, Jose Carreras, Ute Lemper, Carlo Bergonzi, Brian Wilson, and Julie Andrews. John Mauceri is the only conductor ever to conduct for Carnegie Hall (American Symphony Orchestra), the Metropolitan Opera (rehearsals for last national tour with Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette) and Broadway (Song & Dance with Bernadette Peters) on the same day in 1986.
Mr. Mauceri is the recipient of a Tony, Olivier, Grammy, Drama Desk, Edison, Billboard, Cannes Classique, an ECHO Music Prize, two Diapasons d’Or, three Emmys, and four Deutsche Schallplatten Awards., and has been published in Air Mail, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, the Times of London, the Wall Street Journal, Gramophone Magazine, Opera Magazine, and various musicological journals.
Mr. Mauceri served as music director (direttore stabile) of the Teatro Regio in Torino (Turin) Italy for three years after completing seven years as music director of Scottish Opera (22 productions and three recordings), and is the first American ever to have held the post of music director of an opera house in either Great Britain or Italy. He previously was music director of the Washington Opera (The Kennedy Center) and was the first music director of the American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall after its founding director, Leopold Stokowski, with whom he studied. From June of 2000 until July of 2006, he conducted 22 productions as music director of the Pittsburgh Opera.
In 1999, Mr.Mauceri was chosen as a "Standard-bearer of the Twentieth Century" for WQXR, America's most listened-to classical radio station. According to WQXR, "These are a select number of musical artists who have already established themselves as forces to be reckoned with and who will be the Standard Bearers of the 21st Century's music scene." The recipients were chosen for "their visionary talent and technical virtuosity." In addition, CNN and CNN International chose Mr. Mauceri as a "Voice of the Millennium".
His latest book, The War on Music—Reclaiming the 20th Century (Yale University Press) was a Los Angeles Times Best Seller in 2022.
Act One: The Early Years
John Francis Mauceri was born on September 12, 1945 in New York City. He began piano studies with his Sicilian grandfather Baldassare Mauceri who was a composer, instrumental teacher, and conductor of hotel orchestras (Waldorf Astoria, The Hotel McAlpin as well as in Atlantic City). His childhood hours were shared equally with piano playing and producing puppet plays. His constant source of inspiration, however, was television which, in the early 1950s presented a vast and eclectic world of art and entertainment. It was a porthole through which the young boy experienced his first concerts, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, interviews with Albert Einstein, Carl Sandburg and Wanda Landowska on "Life Begins at Eighty," his first operas (Madame Butterfly and Amahl and the Night Visitor on the NBC Opera), Salvador Dalì, Judy Garland, Duke Ellington, Glenn Gould, Shakespeare and Broadway, mixed in with baseball, puppet shows, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen and vaudeville comedians. At ten, in response to seeing the film of The King and I, he produced the musical play in his backyard with all his friends.
In junior high school Mr. Mauceri became a Broadway aficionado and wrote theater criticism for the high school newspaper. He won a design award for the production of William Vincent Wallace's Maritana, and began composing. At this time he was given a subscription to the Metropolitan Opera and for the next fifteen years was able to attend some of the great historic performances in both the old as well as new Metropolitan Opera houses. Because of his proximity to both Broadway as well as the Metropolitan Opera House, the young Mauceri attended the original productions of West Side Story, The Music Man, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, and Gypsy while also experiencing the opera house debuts of Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli, Leopold Stokowski, and Joan Sutherland as well as Maria Callas' return in Tosca, Birgit Nilsson's first Ring cycle, Aida, Fidelio, and Turandot, Strauss and Mozart conducted by Karl Böhm, Leonard Bernstein's Falstaff, Ernest Ansermet's Pélléas et Mélisande, Georg Solti's Tristan und Isolde, and Karajan's Das Rheingold and Die Walküre. He attended both the closing night at the old opera house as well as the opening of the new one at Lincoln Center. He painted a series of portraits of famous opera singers, many of which he sent to the singers themselves. He received grateful thanks from the ailing Kirsten Flagstad, as well as Birgit Nilsson, who hung the painting of her as Isolde in her house in Sweden. Nilsson became frequent correspondent with the teenage Mauceri, who composed a song cycle for her. Nilsson's kindness and encouragement was an incalculable influence on him.
At East Meadow High School on Long Island, N.Y. he developed an interest in science and mathematics, and planned to become a doctor. His achievements in high school were prodigious: editor-in-chief of the high school newspaper, president of the student council, vice-president of the National Honor Society, and treasurer of the Thespian Society. He lectured the high school German Club on Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (which he fully designed on a puppet stage) and Strauss' Elektra, as well as the history of French opera for the French Department. At graduation, he was awarded many honors including the French Department Award, the Journalism Award, and the Citizenship Award.
Attending Yale College, Mr. Mauceri chose Music Theory and Composition as his major, studying with Howard Boatwright, Donald Martino, Lawrence Moss, Mel Powell, William Waite, Beekman C. Cannon, and Robert Bailey. Mr. Mauceri continued his piano studies (Morton Estrin and Donald Currier), received a voice scholarship, and began private conducting studies with Gustav Meier. His compositions included a Mass in English, which was sung at the Yale Catholic Chapel at high mass every Sunday for three years. Mr. Mauceri's interest in literature led to founding and editing a literary magazine at his residential college. Yale's broad educational spectrum also allowed him to study 20th century architecture with Vincent Scully, religion (Pelekin and Kuttner), and psychology (Logan and Childe). In addition, he continued French (Henri Peyre), and began Italian and German studies.
During the summer of 1966, Mr. Mauceri was awarded a Robert C. Bates Traveling Fellowship, and, as a result, was able to attend now-historic performances at the Glyndebourne Festival (Dido and Aeneas with Janet Baker), the English Opera Group, who were performing Benjamin Britten's new opera, The Burning Fiery Furnace, the Munich Festival (Falstaff with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elektra with Inge Borkh); the Bayreuth Festival (the last presentation of Wieland Wagner's Ring cycle as well as his Parsifal and the historic Tristan und Isolde which was being recorded by Deutsche Grammophon). It was during this trip that Mauceri became friends with Richard Wagner's granddaughter, Friedelind Wagner, who, like Birgit Nilsson, was one of his "guardian angels." In Paris, Mauceri was able to see Jean Cocteau's production of Pélléas et Mélisande at the Opéra Comique. Returning to Yale for his senior year, he composed music for Brecht's Mann ist Mann, conducted his first symphony concerts and, with special permission from Benjamin Britten, produced and conducted Curlew River both at Yale's Catholic chapel and at the Catholic chapel for the United Nations (New York premiere).
Graduating cum laude in 1967 and winning the Wrexham Prize for highest musical achievement. Mr. Mauceri also received the Francis Vernan Prize for composition and was given a full scholarship to Yale's graduate school to study music theory.
Yale Faculty and Yale Symphony Orchestra
After a year at Yale's graduate school, Mr. Mauceri was appointed music director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra. He remained on the faculty for fifteen years, building the orchestra to international recognition and achieving unprecedented popularity for its symphony concerts. At Yale Mr. Mauceri taught orchestration, conducting, gave guest lectures in the German and Italian Departments and, with the Yale Symphony, developed the concept of thematic programming built on his studies of information theory, linguistics, and psychoacoustics. He conducted a number of significant premieres including the first American performances of Debussy's Khamma and Musiques pour le Roi Lear, the world premiere of the original large orchestra version of Charles Ives' Three Places in New England as well as the new critical edition of his Second Orchestral Set, the American premiere of Stockhausen's Hymnen (which he also produced on Yale's Cross Campus), the American premiere of Paul Hindemith's orchestrated Marienleben song cycle, as well as the American premiere of the score to the silent film of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier (performed with the film and in the presence of legendary soprano, Maria Jeritza). He brought rare performances of Hindemith's Sinfonia Serena and Die Harmonie der Welt Symphony with the Yale Philharmonia to Carnegie Hall, and led performances of Stravinsky's Agon, Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, John Cage's Atlas Eclipticalis, Debussy's Jeux, and Messaien's Reveil des Oiseaux for the Yale community.
His restoration of Scriabin's Prométhée, ou le poème du feu, observing the composer's "keyboard of light," by making use of the newly developed laser technology, was a sensation, and required the concert to be performed three times, to a total audience of 7,500 people. (The Yale community was estimated at 10,000 at that time.) In his seven years as Music Director of the Yale Symphony, Mr. Mauceri played to a consistently sold-out 2,500 seat Woolsey Hall.
In 1971 the Yale Symphony toured France and took with it Debussy's Khamma (amazingly its French premiere), along with Ives' Symphony No. 4. His piano soloist in the Ives was his good friend, across the street neighbor, and colleague, John Kirkpatrick, the world expert on the music of Ives and curator of Yale's Ives Collection. In 1973 Mr. Mauceri produced and conducted Leonard Bernstein's Mass in New Haven with the composer in attendance and, as a result, in Vienna for its European premiere. Mauceri's Vienna production was telecast throughout Europe and America by PBS in conjunction with the BBC and the ORTF. In 1978, at the behest of Richard Rodgers, he developed a template for the creation of a department of Music Theater at New York University's School of the Arts (subsequently called Tisch School of the Arts) that has become one of the finest courses of study in America. Mr. Mauceri left the faculty of Yale in 1982 as Associate Professor, and in 1985 was awarded Yale's first Arts Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement. He returned for one semester in the spring of 2001 to teach a course on the effects of World War II on contemporary esthetics and to conduct both Yale orchestras for the tercentennial of the university. In 2012 he was given a Distinguished Service Award by the Association of Yale Alumni.
Act Two: A Professional Musician
Tanglewood and Leonard Bernstein
In the summer 1971 Mr. Mauceri was invited to Tanglewood as a conducting fellow. There he studied with Bruno Maderna, Colin Davis, Seiji Ozawa, Gunther Schuller, and Leonard Bernstein. The next summer of 1972, while still teaching at Yale, he was invited by Mr. Bernstein to be his assistant for a new production of Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera, as well as its recording on Deutsche Grammophon. For 18 years Leonard Bernstein and John Mauceri worked together on many important projects. As a result, Mr. Mauceri has edited, supervised, and conducted numerous Bernstein works -- many of them premieres -- throughout the world, and at the invitation of the composer. In 1973 Mr. Mauceri supervised a new musical version Candide for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and subsequently Broadway for Mr. Bernstein, Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim that received a special Tony Award for "advancement in musical theater." A variety of versions of Candide have been under Mr. Mauceri's supervision, including his Grammy Award winning 1983 Opera House version and the definitive Scottish Opera version that won an Olivier Award in 1989 when it moved to London's West End. This version, recorded by the composer, won Bernstein a posthumous Grammy in 1991. In 1983, Bernstein invited Mauceri to conduct the European premiere of his new opera, A Quiet Place at Milan's Teatro alla Scala. In addition to his conducting responsibilities, Mauceri worked with Bernstein to reshape the opera as well as its orchestration.
John Mauceri's professional operatic conducting debut was at Wolf Trap in 1973 (Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street). The next summer took him to Santa Fe for a new production of Alban Berg's Lulu, as well as his debut in Spoleto, Italy with the European premiere of Menotti's Tamu Tamu, directed by the composer who had attended one of Mauceri's Wolf Trap performances the previous summer. Mr. Mauceri made his British opera debut with the Welsh Opera (Don Carlos, 1974) and followed that with the Scottish Opera (Otello, 1976) and the English National Opera (la Forza del Destino, 1982), which received unanimous praise in London's fourteen daily and weekly newspapers. Mr. Mauceri's operatic career has included the west coast premiere of Britten's Death in Venice (San Francisco, 1975), music directorship of the Kennedy Center's summer opera at the Terrace Theater (1979-80), as well as the Washington Opera, where he led important new productions of Dominic Argento's A Postcard from Morocco, Donizetti's il Furioso all'isola di San Domingo, Montemezzi's l'Amore dei tre re, Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress and Gian Carlo Menotti's production of la Bohème. After leaving as music director, he returned to conduct Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's production of Don Giovanni (with Renato Bruson, Claudio Desderi, Philip Langridge, and marked the American debut of Karita Matilla) and Francesca Zambello's production of Porgy & Bess.
In 1977 he made his New York City Opera debut conducting Boito's Mefistofele, and went on to conduct a wide variety of repertory including l'Incorronazione di Poppea, Don Giovanni, Street Scene (televised on "Live from Lincoln Center), Naughty Marietta, Manon, il Barbiere di Siviglia, The Makropoulos Case and Menotti's Juana la Loca, which marked Beverly Sills' final operatic performances. His career subsequently has taken him to La Scala (Turandot, A Quiet Place), the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden (la Bohème, Madama Butterfly, la Fanciulla del West and les Troyens), the Metropolitan Opera (Fidelio, Roméo et Juliette - last national tour), the Opéra de Monte Carlo (Madama Butterfly - last production of legendary Margherita Wallmann, The Rake's Progress), the San Francisco Opera (Lulu, Angle of Repose [Andrew Imbrie], The Rake's Progress, A Midsummer Night's Dream) and Chicago Lyric Opera (la Bohème, Regina, Millennium Park Gala Concert, 2005, Roméo et Juliette, and les Pêcheurs de Perles).
From 1986 until 1993 he served as music director of Scottish Opera and conducted important new productions of Billy Budd, Aida, Lulu, Carmen, Salome, Das Rheingold, Street Scene, Regina [British premiere], la Traviata, la Forza del Destino [new performing edition conflating St. Petersburg and Milan versions made by Mauceri], Die Walküre, Norma, and les Troyens, which traveled triumphantly to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. His editions of Regina and Candide for Scottish opera are published and considered definitive. During his tenure, the company made its first complete opera recordings (for Decca) of Street Scene and Regina as well as a recital album with Josephine Barstow that includes the first and only recording of the original Alfano ending to Puccini's unfinished opera, Turandot. A sold-out Usher Hall at the Edinburgh Festival welcomed Mauceri's concert version of Kurt Weill's Lady in the Dark that was subsequently broadcast twice by the BBC. In 1990, when Glasgow was named European City of Culture, he conducted a program for Her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II that included William Walton's Orb and Sceptre, which had been composed in honor of the queen's accession to the thrown.
Mr. Mauceri's became the music director of a fourth opera house in 2001 when he was appointed to that position at the Pittsburgh Opera. For five years he led the company in a wide repertory of 22 operas that included Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, Handel's Giulio Cesare, the American premiere of the critical edition of Verdi's un Ballo in Maschera, Donizetti's Anna Bolena and Lucia di Lammemoor, Beethoven's Fidelio, Gounod's Faust, Strauss' Salome, Elektra, Ariadne auf Naxos, Mozart's Così fan tutte, le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, Puccini's la Bohême, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Rossini's la Cenerentola, Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer and Weill's Street Scene.
Over the course of his career he has made first recordings of operas including Weill's Street Scene, Blitzsetin's Regina, Weill's Der Protagonist, Korngold's Das Wunder der Heliane and Schulhoff's Flammen. (See "Mauceri Editions, Premieres and Arrangements" for more information.)
John Mauceri's orchestral career developed simultaneously with his career in Opera Houses and on Broadway. He made his professional orchestral conducting debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1974 (Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto-- Rudolph Serkin, soloist; Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring). Since then he has appeared with the major orchestras of America and Europe including concerts with the New York Philharmonic, the orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta, the Israel Philharmonic, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the French National Orchestra, the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester (DSO) in Berlin, the MDR (Leipzig), the WDR (Cologne), the NDR (Hannover), the Rundfunk Symphonie Orchester (Berlin), the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra della RAI (Rome), the Orquesta Sinfonica Portuguesa in Lisbon, the National Orchestra of Brazil, the Danish National Orchestra, and the Orchestra della Radio Svizzera Italiana.
He has had a special relationship with Leipzig's legendary Gewandhaus Orchestra, appearing with them for eight consecutive years, which was unprecedented in the orchestra's 300-year history. Together they have performed more than ten hours of music never heard live in concert in Europe, including music by Gershwin, Steiner, Rozsa, Waxman, Korngold, Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, and Danny Elfman.
Mr. Mauceri has conducted concerts in London with all of their major orchestras and has appeared at the Proms. He was music director of the 1986 Leonard Bernstein Festival for the London Symphony with which he has recorded and televised concerts. From 1979 until 1988 he served as music director of the Kennedy Center's orchestras, and in that role was responsible for auditioning and maintaining the quality of the ensembles that regularly accompanied the opera, ballet and music theater presentations at the center. In 1985 he was appointed music director of the American Symphony Orchestra in New York, the first conductor to hold that post since the orchestra's founder Leopold Stokowski. With the American Symphony Mr. Mauceri conducted the world premiere of David Del Tredici's Child Alice in Carnegie Hall in 1986. Mr. Mauceri was the first conductor to perform at the newly renovated Carnegie Hall in December of 1986 in a special concert with members of the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as well as the Empire Brass. In 1987 he created a sensation on a national tour of summer festivals with the Boston Pops at Ravinia (Chicago), Blossom (Cleveland), and at the Hollywood Bowl, replacing the indisposed John Williams.
Turning Points: 1990 - Berlin and Hollywood and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
During his time in Glasgow (1987-93), two seemingly separate events shaped the next decade of his life: the creation of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and a long-term relationship with the Decca Record Company. This latter led to Scottish Opera's first complete opera recordings (Marc Blitzstein's Regina, restored to its original form by Mauceri with Tommy Krasker) and the first complete recording of an American work by Kurt Weill: Street Scene. In addition, Mauceri embarked on a series of award-winning recordings in Berlin, first with works by Kurt Weill and then as a principal conductor on Decca's "Entartete Musik" Series ("Degenerate Music," music banned by the Third Reich). Important recordings from this series include Weill's Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera), Korngold's Das Wunder der Heliane, Ernst Krenek's violin concerto, and Irwin Schulhof's Flammen.
The creation of a new orchestra for him in 1991 shaped much of his thinking for the next sixteen years. With the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (a hand-picked ensemble, selected by Mauceri, from Hollywood's best studio musicians) and its huge outdoor venue, Mauceri continued to develop programming ideas first attempted at Yale in the late 1960s. In addition, his work in Berlin connected his research with the lives of many Hollywood composers who had escaped Hitler's Europe.
During his summers at the Hollywood Bowl he brought dance companies and opera performances back to the venue. In addition, he instituted film nights in which music written in Los Angeles was given world concert premieres, sometimes synchronized to excerpts on the screen and sometimes within a concert program. In order to do this, Mauceri had to edit and create performing versions of literally hundreds of hours of music and develop the technical means to synchronize live performance to pre-existing film excerpts. Although "live-to-picture" concerts has become a standard element in symphonic programming, it was unheard of in the early 1990s, except for accompanying silent films. In addition to celebrating the music written in Los Angeles and putting it into larger contexts, he brought fully staged musicals to the Bowl for the first time in its history.
His programming concept, which proved to be enormously popular, regularly included works not associated with mass audience appeal, and included Bowl premieres of works by Arnold Schoenberg, John Adams, John Corigliano and Gyorgy Ligeti, among many others. Mr. Mauceri developed direct professional and personal relationships with many important film composers, including Miklos Rozsa, David Raksin, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Danny Elfman, and Alan Menken, as well as Adam Guettel, all of whom have been celebrated by Mauceri. A number of them have written new works for him, including symphonic suites from Cabaret and Chicago by John Kander, September 11, 2001 by Jerry Goldsmith, a symphonic suite from Ragtime by Stephen Flaherty, A Fanfare for John at the Bowl by Elmer Bernstein (his last composition), a Symphonic Suite from 'The Light in the Piazza', and The Princess Bride Suite by Adam Guettel, The Overeager Overture by Danny Elfman and Troubadour Music by Richard Rodney Bennett.
Mr. Mauceri's relationship with Mr. Guettel goes back to a time when the very young Guettel was the principal boy soprano at New York City Opera. During Guettel's Yale undergraduate years, he frequently sat in the pit for performances led by Mr. Mauceri of On Your Toes, which was composed by his grandfather, Richard Rodgers. After graduating from Yale, Mr. Guettel served as Mr. Mauceri's assistant in Macerata, Italy (Rigoletto) as well as with a number of European orchestras.
Mauceri and his Hollywood Bowl Orchestra toured Japan four times and Brazil once, and made thirteen recordings for Philips, many of which have won awards. The average audience at the Bowl was well over 13,000 patrons per concert for sixteen seasons. Between September 17 and 21, 2004, for example, his four concerts brought in a total of 70,000 patrons. For his 250th concert with the Bowl Orchestra, the governor of California proclaimed August 31, 2002 "John Mauceri Day" in the state.
Mauceri, who was originally called conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, subsequently became its principal conductor. In announcing his final season (2006), the Los Angeles Philharmonic honored him with the lifelong title of Founding Director. For his final concert, Mauceri commissioned new works by Richard Rodney Bennett, Danny Elfman, and Adam Guettel. During his tenure he was given permission by the Walt Disney Company to perform the original Fantasia live to film for the first time in America and he also presented film segments left unfinished in 1940. In addition, he conducted a staged concert performance of Sunset Blvd. with the Academy Award winning score of Franz Waxman synchronized to the dialogue, all performed live for the first time in history, and celebrating the centenary or both Waxman and director/writer, Billy Wilder. In effect, this concert created a new genre, called by Mauceri "Symphonic Drama," combining live performance of a screenplay with its complete orchestral score.
In June of 2007, Mr. Mauceri was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, along with Placido Domingo.
Mr. Mauceri has achieved an extraordinary track record on Broadway as music director/supervisor and co-producer. In addition to his work as music director and arranger of the 1973 Broadway production of Candide (special Tony Award for the Advancement of Musical Theatre), he originated and co-produced a new production of Rodgers and Hart's 1936 musical On Your Toes in 1983, enlisting members of its original artistic team: George Abbott, then 96 years old, choreographer, George Balanchine (then 87), and orchestrator Hans Spialek (also 87). On Your Toes won two Tony Awards (including one for Mr. Mauceri), the Drama Desk Award, as well as the Outer Circle Critics Award. In London, On Your Toes garnered two Olivier Awards. In 1985, Andrew Lloyd Webber asked Mauceri to serve as music supervisor for the Broadway production of Song and Dance, for which Bernadette Peters won a Tony Award. In 1989, Mr. Mauceri accepted the Olivier for best musical for his new adaptation of Candide for Scottish Opera/ The Old Vic.
Throughout much of his professional career, Mr. Mauceri has been a principal force behind the movement to preserve two of America's great art forms--the American musical as well as the music for the American cinema. As music theater consultant to the Kennedy Center, he not only supervised On Your Toes but also initiated a number of precedent-making grants from the National Endowment for the Arts to restore the classic Broadway scores from the 1930s and 1940s. With the legendary orchestrator Hans Spialek, the scores for The Boys from Syracuse, Anything Goes, and Pal Joey were restored. After Spialek's death, Mr. Mauceri supervised a reconstruction of Kurt Weill's Lady in the Dark. He also served as music director of the Kennedy Center's orchestras from 1979 until 1988 and conducted the tenth anniversary production of Leonard Bernstein's Mass (1981, which was also telecast), the revised version of A Quiet Place (both the American and European premieres), as well as Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel in a production he conceived with Oscar Hammerstein II's son, James.
Mr. Mauceri has created additional orchestrations for Leonard Bernstein's Candide, Decca's recording of Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera), as well as for the new edition of Kurt Weill's Der Weg der Verheissung (The Eternal Road). As a Trustee of the National Institute for Music Theater, he urged the creation of a catalogue of all extant music theater materials of Kern, Berlin, Gershwin, Rodgers, Arlen, and Porter. In 1989 he was asked by Mrs. Ira Gershwin to make the first recordings in her extraordinary recording project with the Library of Congress to publish and record all the works of George and Ira Gershwin. The first recording, Girl Crazy (1930, Gershwin/Gershwin), received an Edison Award as well as High Fidelity Magazine's Record of the Year Award, and the first complete recording of Strike up the Band (1927 and 1930) continued the series. In 1992 his Hollywood Bowl recording, Gershwins in Hollywood, includes more than an hour of restored music. His 2007 recording of Porgy and Bess with the Nashville Symphony restores the 1935 Performing Edition and is the capstone in his work on the music of George Gershwin.
Mauceri Editions, Premieres, and Arrangements
Mr. Mauceri has created an important series of restorations and arrangements of classic film scores for concert performance. These include music by Alex North (Cleopatra Symphony), Franz Waxman (Sunset Blvd. - Sonata for Orchestra), Erich Wolfgang Korngold (Between Two Worlds - Judgment Day), Nino Rota (The Godfather - a Symphonic Portrait), Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek: the Motion Picture - The New Enterprise), and Branislau Kaper (Mutiny on the Bounty - Movements for Orchestra). In 1999 he edited and gave the world premiere concert performance of Bernard Herrmann's Psycho - a Narrative for String Orchestra composed in 1968 but never published. In 2002, Mauceri suggested the creation of a symphony based on the as-yet-to-be-completed score to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Working as editor and artistic advisor to composer Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings Symphony has been called the most successful new orchestral work in history. Within its first year alone, it was heard by over 250,000 people in sold out concerts and continued to be performed throughout the world decades later.
John Mauceri has premiered music written in Hollywood in many corners of the world - from Rio de Janeiro to Osaka, from Vienna and Tel Aviv, and back to Los Angeles itself. In recognition of his outstanding contributions in restoring and performing music for film he was given a special award by the Society for the Preservation of Film Music in August of 1995.
Mr. Mauceri was honored to have conducted the music of Miklos Rozsa, at the invitation of the Rozsa family, for the composer's interment in 1995 at Forest Lawn Cemetery. A performance of the music of Jerry Goldsmith, telephoned to the ailing Goldsmith at home, proved to be the last time he heard his music played. In November of 2007, Mr. Mauceri created a symphonic portrait from The Adventures of Robin Hood to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's death. It was played at Vienna's Konzerthaus to a sold out house that included the composer's grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In championing many unpublished and forgotten works, Mr. Mauceri has led numerous country premieres: the first performances in Portugal of Street Scene and Candide; the French premiere of Verdi's i due Foscari; the Italian premiere of Street Scene and Sibelius' Symphony No. 4, as well as the world premiere of the restored Kurt Weill biblical pageant, Der Weg der Verheissung (The Eternal Road), which he conducted in Germany, Israel, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, celebrating the composer's centenary in 2000. His 1994 performing edition of Erwin Schulhoff's opera, Flammen, was broadcast from the stage of Berlin's Philharmonic Hall upon completion of its audio recording. In addition, Mauceri's performing editions of classic film scores constitute hundreds of hours of world premiere concert performances, broadcasts, and recordings.
His concerts typically brought never performed music to each city. He conducted the Swiss premiere of the Korngold Symphony in F# in Lugano and conducted the Boston Symphony premieres of Weill's Die Sieben Todsünden (The Seven Deadly Sins) and the Korngold Symphony as well as the New York Philharmonic premiere of Korngold's Symphonic Serenade, along with the first performance of Rozsa's Theme, Variations and Finale since Leonard Bernstein's debut in 1943.
Probably his most significant operatic restoration was his performing edition of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, which makes use of the original performance materials housed at Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and represents the composer's final thoughts on his opera. This version, which had not been heard in seventy years, was recorded in February of 2006 by Mr. Mauceri and the Nashville Symphony on the Decca label, and garnered Mr. Mauceri's second Diapason D'or, the most prestigious recording award in France. [See also Act Five for further restoration information.]
Television, Radio and Audio Recordings
John Mauceri's television appearances in America have included performances for Live from Lincoln Center, Live from the Kennedy Center, the Kennedy Center Honors, the 1996 MTV Music Awards (with the rock band Smashing Pumpkins), and the 1987 Gala of Stars for PBS for which he served as music director and which raised more money than any previous gala on the network. Mr. Mauceri wrote and appeared in a miniseries on music for CBS Cable. His work for Arts & Entertainment Channel began with a live, national broadcast with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra on July 4, 1992 and continued with A&E's performing arts series "Stage," for which he was the host. In Great Britain, Mr. Mauceri's TV credits include his new version of Candide as well as two sequential Christmas specials for the BBC with Kiri Te Kanawa and the London Symphony at Royal Albert Hall that included music from My Fair Lady (with Jeremy Irons) and is still shown on cable stations throughout the world. In 1987 he appeared with folk singer Jean Redpath in a special Robert Burns television production called In Search of Auld Lang Synes, which was awarded a finalist certificate at the New York Film and Television Festival.
The 1993 video The Making of "The King and I," which featured Mr. Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (Julie Andrews and Ben Kingsley) was nominated for an Emmy award. In 1994 he appeared on the worldwide live broadcast of the Grammy Awards conducting Placido Domingo. He appears as the conductor in Music for the Movies: The Hollywood Sound, a 1995 film made for television and shown throughout the world that celebrates the centenary of the motion picture industry. In addition, Mr. Mauceri appears in Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note, a 1998 PBS production broadcast throughout the United States as part of the American Masters series, as well as its program on Richard Rodgers, The Sweetest Sounds.
In 1997 he was the host of a 13 part radio series "Music on My Mind" which was heard in the Los Angeles area on KKGO and was rebroadcast in 1998 in Atlanta on WABE (NPR). In 2000, Mauceri wrote and hosted 250 two-hour classical music broadcasts on Los Angeles' KMZT, called "The Evening Concert."
Mr. Mauceri has won two Los Angeles Emmy Awards: one in 1995 as a writer and the other in 1998 as an on-camera personality. He appears regularly on radio and television throughout the world. In 2000 he was featured on "The Lehrer News Hour," A&E News, and gave important radio broadcasts from Berlin and Dessau's Bauhaus, as well as a seminar at Berlin's American Academy on Kurt Weill and the refugee and émigré composers of the Nazi era. In Italy on New Years Eve, 1999, Maestro Mauceri was the featured performer and sole guest for Italian Radio's (RAI-3) Passagio di secolo.
During his seven-year tenure as Chancellor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (2006-13), he conceived and produced a television series that he also hosted, and includes Ethan Stiefel's restaging of The Nutcracker, a complete restoration of the original 1943 Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! (which won the National Educational Telecommunications Association [NETA] Award), a fully staged Much Ado About Nothing including the complete 1920 score composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (American Premiere), a program of dance fantasies (Including Act Two of Swan Lake) and a restoration of the 1913 original production of the Nijinsky-Bakst-Debussy ballet, Jeux.
Mr. Mauceri has made some eighty CD recordings of operas, symphonic works and Broadway cast albums, including the only recording of the original Alfano ending to Turandot, the first recording of Schoenberg's Fanfare for the Hollywood Bowl, the only recording of Richard Rodgers' ballet Ghost Town, the premiere recording of Kurt Weill's atonal opera Der Protagonist, as well as the soundtrack to Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita with Madonna. His recording of Danny Elfman's Serenada Schizophrana on Sony in 2007 introduced the composer's purely orchestral work to a large, international audience. In addition to his recordings on Philips and London/Decca Mr. Mauceri has also recorded for CBS, RCA, Polydor, MCA, Angel, Warner Brothers and Deutsche Gramophon, among others.
Mr. Mauceri can be seen on many DVD restorations, discussing the music of classic films, such as The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, and The Sea Hawk (Korngold), Sunset Blvd. (Waxman), Jezebel (Steiner), Bambi (Churchill and Plumb), El Cid (Rozsa), The Fall of the Roman Empire (Tiomkin), and West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein).
Writer and Speaker
In addition to his work as a conductor, arranger, and editor, Mr. Mauceri writes frequently on opera and musical theater. His writings on the music for the American cinema have expanded the definition of American music as well as twentieth century classical music. His articles on late-nineteenth century performance practices have challenged many accepted traditions in the performance of Verdi and Wagner. He is currently a member of the advisory panels of the Kurt Weill Edition as well as the American Institute for Verdi Studies at New York University.
His speech on the arts in the 20th century for the International Society of Performing Arts Administrators was featured as the cover story of Musical America in June of 1991. Mr. Mauceri wrote the opening commentary for Billboard magazine's first annual classical music edition in September of 1994, and in January of 1995 he was featured in a long article for Symphony magazine called "No Sin in Cinema." His speech for the Association of California Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Society for the Preservation of Film Music called "The Music that Has No Name" was reprinted in Lincoln Center's Stage Bill program during September and October of 1995. His 1996 speech on the influence of acoustical environment on performance practice was published in 1998 in Italy. In February of 1998 Mr. Mauceri gave a significant paper on the long-term effect of World War II on music and esthetics called "Where has all the Music Gone?" as the Keynote speaker for The National Conference of the Association of Music Personnel in Public Radio. In 1999 Mr. Mauceri was awarded a Berlin Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin. His residence there helped support research on his 2022 book "The War on Music" which deals with the influence of global wars on contemporary esthetic evaluations.
Mauceri's work on temporal structures, especially in the operas of Verdi, garnered an invitation to speak at the International Verdi Conference in 2001 (New York University), and his paper "Verdi for the 21st Century" was subsequently published in Florence. In 2003, he delivered a paper for the American Musicological Society Conference in Houston, Texas on textural theory and practice, and in 2005 he was the keynote speaker for the Major Orchestra Librarians Association Conference. His presentation "Exiles in Hollywood" was subsequently published in the society's newsletter, and in June of 2006 he addressed the American Symphony Orchestra League's annual conference with a paper entitled "When you Play the Music and No One Hears it," which was subsequently published in the league's magazine, Symphony. In 2007, the league commissioned Mr. Mauceri to write a major assessment of West Side Story to celebrate the work's 50th anniversary.
Mr. Mauceri's credentials within the academic world continued with the 2010 publication of an article commissioned by Cambridge University Press for a Festschrift honoring Professor Philip Gossett, Chairman of the Music Department of the University of Chicago. The work, entitled "The Art of 'Translation," is the epilogue of the book, Fashions and Legacies of Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera.
During his tenure as Chancellor of UNCSA (2006-13), John Mauceri frequently appeared on television and radio, including two appearances on "Carolina Business Review," the oldest television series in North and South Carolina on business, as well as before the Appalachian Regional Development Institute Leadership Summit, to speak about the arts as an economic engine. For three years, he served as co-chairman of the University Transformation Team, a group of university presidents and chancellors in the Triad region of North Carolina. He frequently acted as an advocate for the arts before state and federal legislators (See Act Three, below). In August 2013 he delivered a keynote speech celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of KQAC Portland's All Classical NPR station called, "Classical Music: Nothing to Worry About."
He recently was featured on the front page of The New York Times on the music of Leonard Bernstein, appeared on WNYC and WQXR radio and their websites, on the music of Wagner's Ring, as well as participated in a symposium by WQXR celebrating the hundredth birthday of composer Bernard Herrmann and at a UNC Chapel Hill symposium commemorating the centenary of the first performance of The Rite of Spring. An article on the legacy of film composers during the era of atonal music was commissioned and published by Gramophone magazine in London.
In 2012 he was invited to write a series of blogs for the Huffington Post that can be found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mauceri/
Act Three: The UNCSA Years
Upon turning sixty in 2005, Mr. Mauceri announced that he would be leaving the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Opera and looked for ways to bring his varied experiences together for what he called, "Act Three." In May of 2006, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina and its President, Erskine Bowles, unanimously elected him chancellor of the North Carolina School of the Arts (now known as the University of North Carolina School of the Arts or UNCSA) in Winston Salem. Established by the General Assembly of North Carolina in 1963, UNCSA is part of the UNC system and is America's first public arts university of conservatories, with a high school component. The campus represents most of the elements of Mr. Mauceri's life and work, with its schools of music, dance, design & production, drama, and filmmaking as well as his commitment to research and teaching.
Serving for seven years, below you will find Mr. Mauceri's major achievements as chancellor, as listed by the University system upon his retirement in 2012.
Lobbied and secured to have "University" added to the school's name to distinguish it from the growing number of arts magnet high schools, and to affirm the school's relationship with the UNC system. This relationship, which existed since 1972 but was generally unrecognized by the public, secured UNCSA's unique Internet URL as UNCSA.edu. The name change was supported by the Board of Trustees, the Board of Governors, NC State Legislature and signed by the Governor.
Shepherded, along with the provost and faculty, UNCSA from a trimester institution to a two-semester school congruent with the other UNC campuses and most American Colleges and Universities.
Conceived and implemented (with full support from the Kenan Institute for the Arts and the UNCSA provost) the school's first full summer school, consisting of summer intensives, professional development courses, and academic offerings, made possible by the two-semester calendar.
Created a telethon to create a database of all living alumni. Significantly increased alumni giving and awareness through appointment of seven alumni to UNCSA's Board of Trustees to represent each of the arts disciplines, academics, and the high school, and created and actively engaged with alumni hubs in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Chicago.
Created the position of Executive Producer which resulted in the transformation of income-negative and income-neutral events into major revenue streams for scholarships - including West Side Story (which had been planned in 2005 but had no budgetary support), and Oklahoma!. Each of these productions brought in over $300,000.00 for scholarships and broke all box office records. The annual production of The Nutcracker, which, for over 40 years, was a co-production with the Winston-Salem Symphony, was taken over by UNCSA in a creative response to the economic downturn, and currently brings in an additional $300,000.00 a year for scholarships. The EP office increased attendance to UNCSA productions by 25% in one year alone.
Connected UNCSA to creative artists who are at the top of their professions, including David Rambo (producer and writer CSI and Revolution), Julie Kent (prima ballerina ABT), Danny Elfman and Alan Menken (composers), J.T. Rogers (playwright), Kristin Chenoweth (Tony Award winner), and Thomas Schumacher (President of Disney Theatrical Group) - all awarded UNCSA honorary doctorates - as well as Dick Cook (Chairman of Disney Studios), Joe Volpe (former General Manager, Metropolitan Opera), Don Hahn (film producer), Adam Guettel (opera/music theater composer), Theodore Chapin (President and Executive Director, Rodgers & Hammerstein) and Barlett Sher (opera/stage director).
UNCSA's name and reputation were brought to the attention of the world in the chancellor's program notes, articles, speeches and appearances. Some of these include China, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, and Brazil. Media outlets like NPR, PBS, BBC, WQXR, as well as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post and important institutions, such as the Smithsonian Institution, Yale University, Harvard University, New York University, the Vienna Academy, Lincoln Center Chamber Music Series Lectures, the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Achieved a positive outcome, with support from UNCSA's faculty and provost, to implement faculty rank for the first time in the institution's history.
UNCSA achieved a student retention rate second only to UNC-Chapel Hill in the UNC System.
UNCSA maintained the best record for clean audits in the University of North Carolina System under UNCSA COO George Burnette, appointed by Mauceri.
Lobbied and secured $48 million in capital funds for four new buildings, including a new library and a new film production design building, all currently under construction.
Charged by President Bowles to restructure the school's Advancement Office, the chancellor and his Chief Operating Officer, began by making the accounting systems of the school and its Foundation congruent. After more than a year of work, it was discovered that the school owed the Foundation approximately $500,000.00. This, added increased pressure to the running of the school, but this debt was been paid off and UNCSA is no longer in debt to the Foundation. The creation of an All-School Fund encouraged unrestricted giving and systems were put in place to allow for on-line giving for the first time in the school's history.
Increased the UNCSA endowment by $14 million (which is a 60% increase), including five new one million dollar endowed professorships, in five disciplines.
Successfully lobbied North Carolina legislature, during both Democratic and Republican majorities, to grant special UNCSA recurring appropriations amounting to many millions of dollars, as well as one-time monies that have literally preserved the school's ability to fulfill its mandated function during a period of unprecedented budgetary cuts.
Successfully lobbied the university Board of Governors, to allow tuition and fee adjustments, achieving recurring funding of over $1 million per annum.
Secured the largest one-time private gift in the history of the UNC School of the Arts - $6 million from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to endow The William R. Kenan, Jr. Excellence Scholarship Awards.
Raised private funds for a Steinway grand piano for the School of Film scoring stage, secured a half million dollars to complete this crucial facility and made funds available for purchase of essential new instruments (celesta, contrabassoon, English Horn, Steinway baby grand piano) for the School of Music. The scoring stage, which had previously been used for storage, is currently one of the most used spaces on campus, supporting the Schools of Filmmaking, Music and Dance and making it possible for UNCSA to produce first class instrumental recordings and sound tracks. Donated his own Baldwin piano on the occasion of his 65th birthday in 2011 as an unlocked and always accessible instrument for any student attending the school.
Appointed new deans who are renowned in their disciplines, including prima ballerina Susan Jaffe, now Dean of the School of Dance, and New York Director/Producer, Carl Forsman, now Dean of the School of Drama, as well as former Dance Dean Ethan Stiefel, and former Film Dean Jordan Kerner. Kerner led the movement to refresh North Carolina's film industry that has brought in $300 million to the state this year and is estimated at $500 million for next year. Stiefel brought a world class and current professionalism that inspired profound changes in the entire university along with a major shift in the reputation of the School of Dance.
Upon commencing his tenure as chancellor in 2006, 70% of executive staff positions were vacant or interim appointments and were filled.
Because it was clear that (U)NCSA had no alumni in the Board of Governors, and many of its members had never been on campus, the chancellor encouraged the January, 2008 Board of Governors meetings to take place while the campus was in full academic and artistic swing. The chancellor, in conjunction with General Administration's secretary and chief of staff and (U)NCSA's COO Burnette, produced a flawless meeting environment while also presenting the students' achievements as the BOG entered their various committee meeting rooms. Marimba ensembles, jugglers, dancers, and works of visual artists, were on constant display. Lunch took place in the paint room, accompanied by the jazz ensemble and the high school drama students, surrounded by artwork. A cocktail party in the chancellor's residence included a student string quartet, the Arabian Dance from The Nutcracker, a scene from August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean, a short film and two musical numbers from West Side Story. The next morning, at the conclusion of the BOG's public meeting, a brass and percussion ensemble in the balcony of Catawba Theater performed Fanfare for the Board of Governors by film composition student Chris Heckman. As of this report, there are members of the BOG and GA who still talk of this transformative experience in telling the UNCSA story to those who hold the greatest power and responsibility in supporting the school.
UNCSA was listed for the first time in Kiplinger's 100 Best Values in Public Education, and subsequently rose from 61st to 31st, based on academic achievement.
UNCSA was listed for the first time among The Hollywood Reporter's top 25 schools in film and drama.
UNCSA's School of Drama was selected by The Hollywood reporter as #7 in the world, and #4 in the world for college programs.
Secured a five- year commitment of $750,000 to televise UNCSA productions on UNC-TV to bring the school's talented students to statewide audiences and beyond. These productions include The Nutcracker, Oklahoma!, Much Ado About Nothing, and the as-yet-to-be released Dance Fantasies, which includes Act Two of Swan Lake, Larry Keigwin's Kingdom, and the school's first all-school student ballet film, Molly Under the Moon. The recent restoration of the 1913 Debussy-Nijinsky-Bakst ballet, Jeux, has been filmed for future broadcast and dissemination.
Led the campaign to complete the $5 million needed to match the A. J. Fletcher Foundation grant to create a ten million dollar endowment to establish the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the School of the Arts.
Partnered with and secured the private funding ($500,000.00) for an exclusive cooperative agreement as the official affiliate school of American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.
During a period of transition in which the position of Chief Advancement Officer was vacant and no new hires were permitted within the university system, the chancellor reorganized the leadership for the Advancement Department resulting in an "overall improvement" award from CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) covering years 4 through 6 of his tenure at UNCSA.
Conceived and implemented the Music Academy of the American South (MAAS) with the provost and the dean of music, under the artistic direction of Music alumnus Justin Poindexter, and with the support of the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts and Flow Automotive. The sold out inaugural weekend in June, 2012, took place on the UNCSA campus and in Old Salem. Its second iteration took place in June, 2013.
Chancellor Mauceri served as music director of UNCSA's 50th Anniversary production of West Side Story; a restoration of the original 1943 production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!; the world concert premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich's Hamlet, performed with alumni and faculty with the North Carolina Symphony as well as the Aspen Festival; the American premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's complete score to Much Ado About Nothing (fully staged), and led performances of the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra on campus, as well as the Grove Park Inn (Asheville) and for the opening of the new wing of the North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh). UNCSA students also performed at the Governor's mansion, in the NC State legislature, and at President Ross' inauguration. In April of 2013, he led the students of the Schools of Music, Dance and Design & Production, in two performances at UNC Chapel Hill as part of an international, yearlong festival celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. UNCSA was the only university to take part in the festival that included many of the world's greatest performers and dance companies, such as Yo Yo Ma, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Mariinsky Orchestra, the Joffrey Ballet and the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Secured funds to invite UNCSA students to shadow him and experience and learn from his professional engagements at: the Hollywood Bowl (ballet, music, film), the Vienna Konzerthaus (string quartet who played in the Vienna orchestra, two drama students who sang at the American Embassy, and two film students), the Grammys in Los Angeles (two students who were guests in the orchestra), the Ravinia Festival (West Side Story, full production), the Aspen Festival (drama alums and faculty), Walt Disney Concert Hall (three composers), the Kennedy Center (composer and film composer), the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, Germany (one composer and three alumni), Danish National Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen (2 film composer graduate students, one conducting graduate student, one faculty member), the opera house in Bilbao, Spain (one composer and one alumnus) and the opening concert of a new professional orchestra in Los Angeles (3 dancers, 7 musicians and one dean).
During the darkest days of budget cuts, the chancellor cut his administrative support and functioned for years with a part-time administrative assistant, counting on the support from Director of External Affairs, James DeCristo and Mrs. Mauceri, to take up the slack. The school, whose "story was not being told," as President Bowles pointed out, had a single person in charge of press and marketing and clearly could not handle the gigantic tasks of telling the school's thousands of stories, given the 300+ performances the school achieved every year. For three years, the chancellor collected clippings from local and national papers, magazines and books, edited them into "mailings" that went out three times a year to donors, legislators and members of the boards to celebrate the achievements of students, faculty and alumni. Because of his personal relationship with the award-winning photographer, Donald Dietz, thousands of digital images of students, both on and off stage, were used free of charge to promote the school. The chancellor regularly updated a five-minute slide show that he kept on his personal computer, to give people anywhere he traveled, a virtual tour of the school many had never seen.
In order to create a better sense of community, the chancellor arranged an annual photograph, used for the school's holiday card, that included all the deans and five students (representing the five conservatories) to be sent to the school's constituency. In addition, and with funds from his discretionary account, the chancellor, in partnership with the director of facilities, Chris Boyd, selected Dietz images to be printed in gigantic format and installed on the faces of some of the school's least interesting walls, where they represent the extraordinary talents and achievements of the students. Using discretionary funds, large posters, representing fourth year films, are now installed annually on the façade of the scoring stage, making the film village look more like the Hollywood studios the students hope to enter someday. With the formal acceptance of the school's three color symbolism, inexpensive banners were purchased to dress up the campus during public events. These flags and the entrance banners, which are four years old, still fly in the wind as if brand new and change the atmosphere in bright and theatrical ways.
With no budget to regularly thank existing supporters, the chancellor phoned every major donor, along with members of the Boards, as well as the president and his chief of staff, every Thanksgiving morning for seven years to say thank you.
Because college commencement and high school graduation were the last performances in which students would participate and because it was a moment in which the school would perform for the students, the chancellor created a new matrix for these otherwise somber (and occasionally inappropriately riotous) events. This meant creating a surprise reveal for the central moment of the unveiling of the diplomas involving a character from popular culture rising from the orchestra pit and turning the serious event into serious fun. The participation of various faculty members and the designs created by third year D&P students made this an instant tradition. Professor Dumbledore, Indiana Jones, grandpa in "Up!," Mary Poppins, as well as performances by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Menken at the piano created truly memorable events for our newest alumni and their parents.
As a performing artist, the chancellor occasionally conducted the UNCSA orchestra, conducted and/or produced film scores, music directed the all-school musicals, brought live orchestral accompaniment back to dance performances and took the school, whenever possible, to perform throughout the state of North Carolina: to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh, UNC Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall, and at major events, such as the installation of UNC President Ross. In addition, the chancellor led memorial concerts for Philip Hanes and Mary Semans, along with a commemoration of Millicent Hayden's life as a major dance faculty member and the retirement of Dean Susan McCullough. He taught, when invited, in film, music history, philosophy, and world history. Under his leadership, UNCSA published its first book, Celebrating 'West Side Story', and released its first commercial CD (Much Ado About Nothing).
Initiated a simultaneous re-broadcast of Oklahoma! as a fundraising telethon with CBS affiliate WRAL-TV and UNC-TV, raising over $100,000.00 toward the relief funds for the victims of tornadoes in the state of Oklahoma, and bringing the school to the attention of many thousands of North Carolinians.
Secured the first $1 million pledge to name the new library after Mary and James Semans.
The chancellor continued to be published during his seven years at the school. Some of these are:
Gershwin: Porgy & Bess (restoration of the original 1935 text) - Decca Records (three UNCSA alumni in the cast) - Nashville Symphony.
Elfman: Serenada Schizophrana - Sony Classics.
Gershwin: Strike Up the Band! (1930) cast album - PS Classics.
Korngold: Much Ado About Nothing - Toccata Classics (with the UNCSA orchestra).
Various DVD bonus album appearances, including: West Side Story (Blu-Ray release), The Fall of the Roman Empire, and El Cid. "The Art of 'Translation'" - published in Fashions and Legacies of Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera (Cambridge University Press). Submitted: June, 2013.
Act Four: Back to New York City and the World
On July 1, 2013 John Mauceri returned to New York City to begin “Act Four.” His first year after leaving the post of chancellor at the University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts brought him to a number of “new” orchestras: Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro), the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra, Czech National Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (Mexico), the Vancouver Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, and the Tokyo Philharmonic. In addition, he returned to Cologne Germany’s Rundfunk Orchester, the London Philharmonic at Royal Festival Hall, the BBC Concert Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall, and the opera in Bilbao, Spain (ABAO) for a series of performances of Puccini’s Turandot with Martina Serafin and Marcello Giordani.
During the subsequent years, Mr. Mauceri appeared at New York University for its symposium celebrating the 200th birthday of Giuseppe Verdi; Cal State Northridge’s Distinguished Lecturer Series, “The Commerce of Creativity,” speaking about Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”; Portland, Oregon’s 20th anniversary gala for its classical music station “All Classical Portland” on the future of classical music; and recorded five radio programs for the syndicated series, The Score. He lectured at Columbia University, London’s Royal College of Music, Washington’s National Gallery, the opening of Lincoln Center’s “The History of the World in 100 Performances” with Adam Gopnik and Jake Gyllenhaal, and New York’s Neue Galerie on the music banned by Hitler and the influence of refugee composers on American music, Los Angeles’ Skirball Center on Leonard Bernstein, and Yale University on the significance of the Broadway musical Hamilton. He appeared on NPR’s “All Thing Considered” with Robert Siegel, discussing the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi, and the BBC, to discuss the publication of The Leonard Bernstein Letters. He became a founding member of NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts Advisory Council in 2014.
In August of 2014, Mr. Mauceri’s concert with the Danish National Orchestra, “Music for Alfred Hitchcock,” was released on Toccata Classics and available through Naxos USA. Included in the album are first recordings of Mr. Mauceri’s editions of music from Psycho, Rebecca, Dial M for Murder, Strangers on a Train, and Rear Window. His concerts in Cologne – music of Schoenberg, Hindemith, Weill, and Korngold, four refugee composers who became American citizens – as well as the London Philharmonic, were streamed worldwide, and the LPO program, “The Genius of Film Music,” containing over an hour of Mr. Mauceri’s editions and restorations heard for the first time in London, was released commercially in 2015. He subsequently returned to the LPO for a concert of spiritual music by Schoenberg, Bach, Wagner, Hindemith and Strauss with soprano soloist Angel Blue, and followed that with a Proms at Royal Albert Hall, celebrating the 100th birthdays of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie.
In addition, he continued writing a series of blogs for The Huffington Post on music and politics (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mauceri/), and completed a first draft of, “Music in a Century of War,” which examines classical music in the 20th century with the goal of finding a universal model that can be used to evaluate and embrace the vast stylistic complexities of the period. Following the publication of “Maestros and Their Music—the Art and Alchemy of Conducting” by Alfred A. Knopf, he was commissioned by the publishing house for a book on the central repertory of classical music. This book, "For the Love of Music--A Conductor's Guide to the Art of Listening" was published in 2019. Both books have been published in translation and can be read in Italian, Korean, Mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese.
Mr. Mauceri’s passionate support for legitimizing music written for the cinema found a major outlet in a concert program created with Danny Elfman and Tim Burton that contains over two hours of newly arranged orchestral music from 15 of his scores for Burton’s films. Since the program’s world premiere in 2013 at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Mauceri and Elfman have appeared together before hundreds of thousands of grateful and enthusiastic fans in Paris, Brussels, Tokyo, Prague, London, Adelaide, Mexico City, Barcelona, Los Angeles, New York, and Seoul. In July, 2016, the Lincoln Center Festival presented six performances of the concert program (26,000 in attendance), one of which was subsequently televised on “Live from Lincoln Center,” and viewed by over one million people, garnering two national Emmy awards–one for sound and one for musical direction. As a “spin-off” to these concerts, Mr. Mauceri conducted two live-to-film complete Elfman scores to “Alice in Wonderland,” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”— the latter making a bit of history in that members of the original singing cast performed live, synchronizing their performances to the picture 22 years after having recorded it for the sound track.
Mr. Mauceri received his third Emmy, as producer and artistic director of UNCSA’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” featuring the 1920 score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold in its American premiere. He also received—alongside Barbara Cook—a lifetime achievement award from the Music Academy of Westchester (New York)—an organization that provides musical instruments, music therapy, and instruction to children in need.
Celebrating his 70th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his first concert as a conductor (Yale University, December 4, 1966), Mr. Mauceri began the season attending a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, which began with his edition of Herrmann’s “Psycho—A Narrative for String Orchestra.” He returned to Yale where he conducted a program of Bach-Schoenberg, Wagner and Strauss in Woolsey Hall, as part of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Yale Symphony and later led the orchestra in Carnegie Hall for a program that included New York premieres of music by Adam Guettel and Leonard Bernstein. At that concert, Mr. Mauceri was given a special citation by Yale president Peter Salovey for his visionary work in creating the Yale Symphony, and also received the Ditson Conductor’s Award from Columbia University—the oldest conducting award in the United States—for his “splendid record of dedication and accomplishments,” which have included a half century of “world premieres, first recordings, and overseas performances of an amazing variety of music by emerging and established American composers, both native and naturalized.”
Act Five: Covid and the Rest
With the outbreak of Covid-19, all of Mr. Mauceri's concerts and recordings were cancelled. In the years that have followed he has turned to developing various projects and writings. In the winter of 2020/21, for example, his adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was telecast throughout the United States on PBS, featuring Alan Cumming as narrator with Mr. Mauceri leading the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Taken from archival video footage and edited by Mr. Mauceri and former UNCSA student Andrew Young, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King will be re-broadcast during the 2022/23 and 2023/24 television seasons.
His book, The War on Music--Reclaiming the Twentieth Century was published in 2022 and was chosen by the Financial Times as a "Best Summer Read," and was an L.A. Times "Top Ten Best Seller." His article on West Side Story and The Music Man was published in Air Mail ("And the WInner Is") and he was honored to become a "Tony nominator," requiring him to attend every Broadway show as part of the process to award excellence for America's leading theatrical creators.
Working with writer and film director, Todd Field, Mr. Mauceri served as Musical Advisor on the 2022 film Tár, which stars Cate Blanchett as a fictional conductor, Lydia Tár. Field directly quotes Mauceri whenever his leading character speaks about music and what it is like to be a conductor. When Variety reviewed the film with, "[Lydia Tár] speaks with astonishing eloquence and wit, of conducting as the marshaling of time itself" her character is directly quoting from Mauceri's writings and the two interviews he had with Field.
Throughout the temps perdu of the Covid years, the greatest work that has consumed much of his energy is the reconstruction of a "lost" opera by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer called, Blues Opera. Never produced when it was abandoned in 1960 when both authors turned to other projects on Broadway and Hollywood, Blues Opera served as a major sleuthing operation carried on with his co-editor, Michael Gildin, and the co-operation of libraries and archives, along with the Arlen and Mercer families. To everyone's surprise the entire opera's musical materials were found as well as various incomplete librettos. With more than two and a half hours of music, Blues Opera will undoubtedly be Mr. Mauceri's crowning achievement in his lifetime of restorations and performing editions.