ALVARO CASSUTO (b 1938 )
Álvaro Cassuto is Portugal’s foremost conductor. He has been music director of the Portuguese National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the University of California Symphony Orchestra, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of New York, the Israel Raanana Symphony Orchestra, and the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra.
He was also the founding music director of three other Portuguese orchestras, the Nova Filarmonia Portuguesa, the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra and the Algarve Orchestra.
Born in Porto, he studied in Lisbon, and after establishing himself as one of the most promising young composers of the avant-garde of the early 1960s, went on to study conducting with Herbert von Karajan in Berlin. After graduating from the Law School at the University of Lisbon, he obtained his conducting degree in Vienna.
A recipient of the Koussevitzky Prize in Tanglewood among many other honours, he has enjoyed a career of high international acclaim, and spent almost two decades in the United States where his annual subscription concerts at Carnegie Hall with the National Orchestra of New York were enthusiastically received by The New York Times.
He has been a frequent guest of many leading orchestras, including the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and dozens of others across the world. He has a discography encompassing over fifty recordings with a variety of orchestras and for different labels, among which a highly successful ongoing series for Marco Polo and Naxos, initiated in 1997 and dedicated to Portugal’s most important composers, which has met with enthusiastic and unanimous praise from the international press.
In 2009 the president of Portugal bestowed on him the degree of Grand Officer of the Military Order of Sant’Iago da Espada, the highest honour ever granted to a musician.
The Music of My Country – Portuguese Conductor Álvaro Cassuto Talks with Jeremy Siepmann