Werner Torkanowsky



Competition Winner

Born: March 30, 1926 (Berlin, Germany)

Died: October 20, 1992 (Bar Harbor, Maine)

Werner Torkanowsky was the winner of the 1961 Naumburg Award in Conducting. He was born in Berlin, Germany immigrating with his parents to Palestine at age 6 where he was raised on a kibbutz. His early musical studies were with his mother who was a concert pianist. He moved to the US in 1948 to study violin with Raphael Bronstein. From 1954-1958, he studied conducting with Pierre Monteux. He made his conducting debut with the Ballets Espagnoles in 1954, when as concertmaster he stepped in for the ailing conductor. Following, he became the music director of Jerome Robbins' "Ballet USA."

Following winning the Naumburg Award, Torkoanwsky made his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1961, and New York City Opera where he led Gian Carlo Menotti's The Medium and The Consul. He went on to conduct many major orchestras, including in Israel, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Detroit, as well as conducting a production of Samuel Barber's Vanessa at the Spoleto Festival. He also led productions at San Diego Opera and the Seattle Opera.

From 1963 to 1977, Torkanowsky was the music director and chief conductor of the New Orleans Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra. In 1981, he was named director and chief conductor of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra (Maine).

Throughout his careeer, he continued his work as a composer and a violinist, appearing as a soloist and in chamber ensembles.


1961 Conducting Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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