Acclaimed conductor Pierre Monteux began his music career as a viola player in his native Paris. He fought in the French army as an enlisted man in the early days of World War I and came to the United States as a conductor of the Ballet Russe. He stayed on as a conductor of the Metropolitan’s French repertory.
In the five years starting in 1919, he was music director of the Boston Symphony. Then followed nine years with the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam.
He joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1934 and continued improving the orchestra there until his technical retirement in 1952. After that, he stayed on the move with guest appearances and other work.
His interest in new music led him to conduct the first performance of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” in 1913 and Maurice Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloe” in 1912.
He established a summer school for musicians in Hancock, Maine, his wife’s childhood home.
He was well known in Los Angeles for his performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He played more than 20 concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, starting in 1927.