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Born in 1896
Inducted in 1999
Conductor and composer Dimitri Mitropoulos was born into a Greek family devoted to the Orthodox Church. As a boy Mitropoulos showed an exceptional talent for music. He studied composition and piano at the Athens Conservatory and graduated in 1919. At the age of 23 he wrote an opera, Soeur Beatrice, which was performed in Athens. With the success of the opera, Mitropoulos obtained a scholarship to the conservatory in Belgium, where he studied composition. From 1920 to 1924 he was a student in Ferruccio Busoni’s piano master class at the Berlin Hochshule fur Musik. During his Berlin tenure he worked as vocal coach at the Staatsoper. Upon his return to Athens in 1924 he began conducting, and in 1930 joined the composition faculty at the Athens Conservatory. In 1930 he made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, but the piano soloist failed to appear for rehearsals, so Mitropoulos played the piano and conducted, turning this concert into the talk of the Berlin season. After the stunning success of his Berlin debut Mitropoulos conducted in many countries. He made his American debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in January 1936. Mitropoulos had a fabulous memory, photographic, and no matter how difficult or complicated the music, he never used a score, neither in rehearsal nor in performance. Two weeks after his second engagement with the BSO, Mitropoulos made his first appearance with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, which soon became his own. In 1949 he left Minnesota for The New York Philharmonic. From 1950 to 1958 he was the sole music director, but in November, 1957, Mitropoulos would retire from his position. After 1954, he conducted at the Metropolitan Opera every season until his death on November 2, 1960. In New York City a conduction competition was established in his name.