C1399. RICHARD BURGIN Cond. Boston Symphony Orchestra, w.Florence Kopleff (MS) & Alfred Nash Patterson's Chorus Pro Musica: Symphony #3 in d (Mahler). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-305, Live Performance, 20 Jan., 1962 [Premiere performance of Mahler's Third Symphony in Boston, a profoundly glorious performance beautifully displaying the splendor of the Symphony Hall acoustic], Symphony Hall, Boston. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"In January 1962, when the BSO gave the Boston premiere of Mahler’s Third Symphony under Assistant Conductor Richard Burgin, (Charles Munch’s concertmaster) I was there. It was not the kind of music that Charles Munch would have wished to conduct. The program began with another Boston premiere, of Stravinsky’s 'Zvyezdoliki', with a men’s chorus singing Balmont’s text in an English translation by Nicolas Slonimsky."
- Mark DeVoto, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 31 Jan., 2018
“Richard Burgin, former associate conductor and concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, [enjoyed a concert violin career that spanned more than 75 years. The Warsaw-born musician came to the United States as Boston Symphony concertmaster in 1920. He made his first public appearance at the age of 11, as a soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic Society. He later studied in Leningrad and Stockholm, and began his American orchestral career under the French conductor Pierre Monteux.
‘There is nothing like the Boston Symphony in Europe’, he told an interviewer after coming to the United States. During his career, he led the Boston Symphony in 308 concerts in the United States, Australia and Japan, and was associate conductor at seven world premieres and 25 Boston premieres. Mr. Burgin usually conducted without a baton and, though he always had the score before him, he seldom looked down at it. ‘In my youth, it was considered bad taste to perform from memory’, he said.
Within a year of coming to Boston, he organized the Burgin String Quartet. He headed the string department of the New England Conservatory at various times and joined the Boston University faculty in 1959. Mr. Burgin retired as Boston Symphony concertmaster at the end of the 1961-62 season and moved to Florida, where in the summer of 1965 he conducted the London Symphony Orchestra during its visit to Daytona Beach. Mr. Burgin last gave a concert in June 1980 at Florida State University.”
- THE NEW YORK TIMES, 1 May, 1981
“Active chiefly as a concert and oratorio soloist, [Kopleff] appeared frequently with the Robert Shaw Chorale and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Robert Shaw. Kopleff appeared on several of the Chorale's popular LP recitals in the 1950s and '60s, including'The Stephen Foster Songbook', 'Irish Folk Songs' and 'The Great Choruses from MESSIAH'. Other conductors with whom Kopleff worked and recorded included Charles Münch, Fritz Reiner and Maurice Abravanel.
- OPERA NEWS, Nov., 2012
“Florence Kopleff was a true contralto. She was one of those artists who possessed such an amazing instrument that when you heard that sound, you knew it was Florence. You didn’t confuse it with anyone else. Her personality, the person that was Florence, came through in the quality of her vocal tone and in the beautiful artistry, her gorgeous phrasing.”
- Michael Palmer, ARTS ATLANTA, 25 July, 2012