Arts + Culture

UCLA Obituary: Samuel Krachmalnick

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Samuel Krachmalnick, of StudioCity, Calif., a prominent musical conductor who taught at UCLA from 1976 untilhis retirement in 1991, died of a heart attack April 1 in Burbank, Calif., atthe age of 79. He is survived by his wife, soprano Gloria Lane Krachmalnick, and his children, Magdaand Robert.

Krachmalnick had a long and diverse career as a conductorin the worlds of Broadway, opera, ballet and orchestral music before movinginto academia. He often was praised for his sensitive musicality, faithfulnessto the score and exceptional sense of musical texture.

"Sam had the ability to makethe most complex musical things simple. Whatever you learned from him wasimmediately usable," said Daniel Gary Busby, who studied privately with Krachmalnick and went on to earn his M.M. and D.M.A. fromUCLA before joining the UCLA faculty.

"His reach is far andlasting in the musical firmament. Generations of singers, conductors andinstrumentalists were influenced by him through his work with [UCLA lecturer]John Hall and Opera UCLA," saidBusby, now assistant professor and a music director at the Claire Trevor Schoolof the Arts at the University of California, Irvine.

Bornin St. Louis in 1926, Krachmalnick won scholarshipsto the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where he studied piano,French horn and music theory, and The JuilliardSchool in New York City, where he studied under the tutelage of Jean Morel, theeminent French conducting pedagogue. He remained at Juilliardfollowing graduation and served for two years as Morel's teaching fellow.

In1954, Krachmalnick won the inaugural Koussevitzky Memorial Prize in conducting at Tanglewood, where he studied with Leonard Bernstein. Thatsame year, he was associate musical director and conductor for the world-premiereBroadway run of Gian Carlo Menotti's"The Saint of Bleeker Street." He went on to serve asmusical director and conductor for Marc Blitzstein's"Reuben, Reuben," Gordon Duffy's "Happy Town" and, most notably, LeonardBernstein's "Candide," for which he was nominated fora Tony Award as Best Conductor and Musical Director in 1957.

Awayfrom Broadway, Krachmalnick's conducting activities included a tour with theBoston Pops Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler on its first transcontinental tour.He traveled as musical director with the American Ballet Theater, a post thatincluded a fall season at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. He conductedthe Symphony of the Air and was music director of the Boston Arts Festival fortwo years. He was music director of the HarknessFoundation and Ballet from 1970–80.

Krachmalnick was associate music director and conductor ofthe Metropolitan Opera National Company for its inaugural tour in 1965–66 andits final tour in 1966–67. He was a member of the conducting staff of the NewYork City Opera and conducted opera throughout the United States and Canada,including the opera companies of Cincinnati, Seattle, Portland, Oregon,Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton. In Europe, he was first conductor at the Stadttheater in Zurich for three years. He appeared as aguest conductor at the Rome Opera, Zagreb Opera and the opera companies ofGenoa, Naples, Turin and other Italian cities.

Heserved as musical director for numerous television programs including"Omnibus," and won three Emmy Awards for his musical direction of CarlisleFloyd's opera "Markheim" for PBS.

Inthe latter part of his career, Krachmalnickdistinguished himself as a conducting teacher. He joined the faculty of theUniversity of Washington, Seattle, in 1971. In 1976 he moved to Los Angeles,where he joined the music faculty at UCLA as director of opera and orchestras.He remained there until his retirement in 1991. He ended his 15-year tenure atUCLA with an acclaimed production of "Candide."

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