Becoming a Conductor - Thomas Schippers

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Becoming a Conductor

In 1955, Tommy was named a Metropolitan Opera conductor and for so young an American this was an uncommon and nearly unheard of occurrence. In its then seventy-one-year history, there had been very few American-born conductors who worked with this opera company. Tommy made his Met début on December 23, 1955 conducting the new production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. He conducted over thirty times at the Met house in 1956. When referring to that particular Met season, Rudolph Bing, who was then the General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, considered it “The Schippers Festival” as Tommy had conducted thirty-six performances of five operas including La Bohème and Les Contes d'Hoffmann.

In 1955 Tommy won the Tony Award for Best Conductor and Musical Director for The Saint of Bleecker Street sharing the stage for the same category of ‘Craft’ with Cecil Beaton for Costume Design and Bob Fosse for Choreography. He was also nominated five times for the Grammy Award. Tommy achieved another prestigious award in 1956. In January of that year he was named one of the Ten Outstanding Men in the United States.
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