Catherine Comet

Last updated

Catherine Comet (born 1944) [1] is a French-born, American conductor who from 1986 to 1997 was the music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony in Grand Rapids, Michigan, becoming the first woman to hold a post as music director of a professional orchestra in the United States. [2] During her 11-year tenure with the Grand Rapids Symphony, she also served as music director of the American Symphony Orchestra. [3] She received the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award in 1988. [4] [5] [6]

Conducting Directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures

Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or choral concert. It has been defined as "the art of directing the simultaneous performance of several players or singers by the use of gesture." The primary duties of the conductor are to interpret the score in a way which reflects the specific indications in that score, set the tempo, ensure correct entries by ensemble members, and "shape" the phrasing where appropriate. Conductors communicate with their musicians primarily through hand gestures, usually with the aid of a baton, and may use other gestures or signals such as eye contact. A conductor usually supplements their direction with verbal instructions to their musicians in rehearsal.

The Grand Rapids Symphony is a professional orchestra located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. Founded in 1930, the Symphony is in its 89th season in 2018-19. In 2006, its recording Invention and Alchemy was nominated for Best Classical Crossover Album at the Grammy Awards. The Grands Rapids Symphony presents more than 400 performances throughout Michigan each year, reaching over 200,000 people, and is heard in West Michigan on broadcasts by WBLU-FM (88.9) and WBLV-FM (90.3). The organization also implements 18 educational and access programs that benefit over 80,000 Michigan residents.

Grand Rapids, Michigan City in Michigan, United States

Grand Rapids is the second-largest city in Michigan and the largest city in West Michigan. It is on the Grand River about 30 miles (48 km) east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 1,005,648, and the combined statistical area of Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland had a population of 1,321,557. Grand Rapids is the county seat of Kent County.

From 1984 to 1986, Comet was associate conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra symphony orchestra based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is an American symphony orchestra based in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore SO has its principal residence at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where it performs more than 130 concerts a year. In 2005, it began regular performances at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda.

Related Research Articles

Charles Dutoit Swiss conductor

Charles Édouard Dutoit is a Swiss conductor. In September 2018, he was named principal guest conductor of the St Petersburg Philharmonic as of the season 2018-2019. In 2017, he became the 103rd recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal Award. Dutoit is the former artistic director and principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor emeritus of the NHK Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo, and was conductor laureate of the Philadelphia Orchestra until the orchestra stripped him of the title after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

Lorin Maazel French-American conductor

Lorin Varencove Maazel was an American conductor, violinist and composer. He began conducting at the age of eight and by 1953 had decided to pursue a career in music. He had established a reputation in the concert halls of Europe by 1960 but, by comparison, his career in the U.S. progressed far more slowly. However, he would later be appointed music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic, among other posts. Maazel was well-regarded in baton technique and possessed a photographic memory for scores. Described as mercurial and forbidding in rehearsal, he mellowed in old age.

Neeme Järvi Estonian conductor

Neeme Järvi is an Estonian American conductor.

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Spanish conductor

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos was a Spanish conductor and composer.

Gerard Schwarz American conductor

Gerard Schwarz, also known as Gerry Schwarz or Jerry Schwarz, is an American symphony conductor and trumpeter. As of 2019, Schwarz serves as the Artistic and Music Director of Palm Beach Symphony and the Director of Orchestral Activities and Music Director of the Frost Symphony Orchestra at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

Christoph Eschenbach German musician

Christoph Eschenbach is a German-born pianist and conductor.

David Eric Robertson is an American conductor. He is currently chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and was formerly music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra until 2018.

Marin Alsop Conductor and violinist

Marin Alsop ['mɛər.ɪn 'æːl.sɑːp] is an American conductor and violinist. She is currently music director of both the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, and chief conductor designate of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Philippe Entremont French pianist

Philippe Entremont is a French classical pianist and conductor. His recordings as a pianist include concertos by Tchaikovsky, Maurice Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saëns and others.

David Ott is an American composer of classical music.

Semyon Mayevich Bychkov is a Soviet-born conductor.

Anshel Brusilow was an American violinist, conductor, and music educator at the collegiate level.

Robert "Bob" Bernhardt is an American conductor. He is currently in his 18th season as Principal Pops Conductor of the Louisville Orchestra, and in his 3rd season as Music Director Emeritus and Principal Pops Conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. In 2015, Bob Bernhardt was named Principal Pops Conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony. He is also Artist-in-Residence at Lee University since 2012. For most of the 1980s, he was also associate conductor of the Louisville Orchestra.

Mario Venzago is a Swiss conductor. His piano studies began at age five. He studied at the conservatory and the university in Zurich. He later studied conducting with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna.

JoAnn Falletta American conductor

JoAnn Falletta is an American conductor.

Carl Ray St. Clair is an American conductor.

The Pasadena Symphony and POPS is an American orchestra based in Pasadena, California. In 2010 it took up residence at the Ambassador Auditorium, where its Classics Series runs from October through April. Since 2012 it performs a summer series at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden from June through September.

Kenneth Kiesler is an American symphony orchestra and opera conductor and mentor to conductors. Kiesler is conductor laureate of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra where he was music director from 1980 to 2000 and founder and director of the Conductors Retreat at Medomak. In 2014, Kiesler was nominated for a Grammy Award for his recording of Darius Milhaud’s opera L’Orestie d’Eschyle. He is Director of Orchestras and Professor of Conducting at the University of Michigan.

Marcelo Lehninger

Marcelo Lehninger is music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony, a regional orchestra located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.


  1. Scanlan, Marie (1992-03-01). "An Interview with Catherine Comet". Music Educators Journal. 78 (7): 42–45. doi:10.2307/3398358.
  2. Karin Pendle (2001). Women & Music: A History. Indiana University Press. p. 363. ISBN   025321422X.
  3. Kozinn, Allan (13 April 1990). "New Leader Looks To Past At American Symphony". The New York Times . Retrieved 2019-09-08.
  4. Crutchfield, Will (1984-09-04). "MUSIC: CATHERINE COMET LEADS VERDI 'DESTINY'". The New York Times.
  5. McLellan, Joseph (1987-10-02). "National Symphony Orchestra". The Washington Post.
  6. "CATHERINE COMET CONDUCTS THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 1988-12-09.
Wayback Machine Web archive service

The Wayback Machine is a digital archive of the World Wide Web and other information on the Internet. It was launched in 2001 by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California, United States.