Aaron Copland School of Music Faculty

   Maurice Peress (Professor)

Fields of Study:
Performance (conducting)

Degrees and Studies:
B.A., New York University

Biographical Information:
Maurice Peress was selected by Leonard Bernstein as an Assistant conductor with the New York Philharmonic in 1961. Over the next twenty years, he led three American orchestras: Corpus Christi (1962-74), Austin (1970-72) and the Kansas City Philharmonic (1974-80). In 1984 he joined the faculty of the Aaron Copland School of Music and established an MA program for conductors. Maestro Peress maintains an active guest-conducting schedule.

In Europe, Peress conducted the Vienna State Opera in the European premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Mass (1981). More recently Peress worked in the Czech Republic, with the Brno Orkester (1997) conducting Smetana's epic tone poem Ma Vlast, the FOK Orkester at the Prague Spring Festival (1998) in a Gershwin 100th anniversary concert, the Prague Radio Orkester (1999), recording music for his TV documentary "Dvorak and America." In 1999 Peress appeared in London with Jessye Norman and the Barbican Center Orchestra in a tribute to Duke Ellington. In Italy he appeared with the Bregamo/Brescia Festival (1997), the Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome (1988) and directed a Gala Gershwin Festival for RIA UNO (2000, Rome Radio TV).

In the Far East, Peress has conducted the Melbourne Symphony (1998), the Shanghai Radio and Television Orchestra (1996-97), the Chunjo and Changjo orchestras (1996) of Korea, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic (1980). He made four tours of China, in 2003-2005 conducting the Shanghai Opera Orchestra, the China National Symphony (Beijing) and the Shenzhen Symphony, where he is Principal Guest Conductor.

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