James DePreist

Conductor

James DePreist, longtime music director of the Oregon Symphony, was the nephew of Marian Anderson, the first black singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, and like her, he was a trailblazer. It would have been pioneering enough for DePreist, who died Feb. 8 at 76, to be one of the few black conductors to lead major orchestras. But he also set himself apart by refusing to let a mere disability--the result of polio he contracted in 1962--stop him from leading major ensembles like the New York Philharmonic and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, though it sometimes meant approaching the podium...

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