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Born in 1935
Inducted in 2008
Born March 21, 1935, in New York City, Erich Kunzel is an iconic American conductor of international renown. A student of the great French Maestro Pierre Monteux, Erich Kunzel made his professional conducting debut with the Santa Fe Opera in 1957, immediately after his graduation from Dartmouth College. In 1965 Kunzel began his career with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, with which he has recorded over eighty-five albums since 1977. More than fifty-five of these albums have appeared on the Top Ten Billboard charts, earning him an unprecedented four consecutive years as Billboard Magazine's Classical Crossover Artist of the Year. Several GRAMMY awards, the distinguished Grand Prix Du Disque, and the Sony Tiffany Walkman Award highlight his recording career. In 1998 Maestro Kunzel conducted the first ever pops concert in China with the China National Symphony Orchestra. In August 2008, he and the Cincinnati Pops participated in the Opening Festivities of the Summer Olympics in China. Since 1991 Maestro Kunzel has annually led the National Symphony Orchestra on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in PBS-TV's internationally televised Memorial Day and Fourth of July concerts. In 2006 Erich Kunzel was awarded the National Medal of Arts in recognition of his distinguished career.