Henry Lewis

Real Name:
Henry Jay Lewis
Profile:
Henry Lewis (Conductor)

Born: October 16, 1932 - Los Angeles, California, USA
Died: 1996

The black American conductor, Henry Lewis, began studying piano at the age of five and later learned to play the clarinet as well as several string instruments. After six years as a double-bassist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, he played (double-bass) with and conducted (in Germany and the Netherlands) the Seventh Army Symphony while serving in the United States Armed Forces (1955-1956). After returning to the USA, he founded the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In 1963 he travelled with it in Europe under the auspices of the State Department. He gained national recognition in 1961 when he was appointed assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta, a post he held until 1965.

During a music career that spanned nearly five decades, Henry Lewis gained wide respect as a conductor, instrumentalist, and pioneer in the classical music world. In 1968 he became the first black to head a major American orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and in 1972 he debuted at the New York Metropolitan Opera, conducting Puccini's La Boheme.

After serving as a guest conductor of major symphony orchestras in the USA and abroad, Henry Lewis moved to Newark, New Jersey, where in 1968 he became conductor and music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, a small community ensemble. He transformed the ensemble into a nationally recognized orchestra that annually performed more than a hundred concerts, including outreach programs for local communities. From 1960 to 1979 he was married to famed opera singer Marilyn Horne, who considered him her ‘teacher and right hand’. After retiring from the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in 1976, he conducted opera and orchestra guest engagements. From 1989 to 1991 he was chief conductor of the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Hilversum. He continued to tour as a guest conductor until his death from a heart attack at the age of 63.


Source: Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); Africana Website (by Roanne Edwards)
Contributed by Aryeh Oron (August 2001)
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Henry Lewis Discography Tracks

Albums

Henry Lewis - Recital album art Marilyn Horne, Lewis*, Orchestra Of The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Marilyn Horne, Lewis*, Orchestra Of The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden - Recital (Album) Decca UK 1965 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Arias From French Operas album art Marilyn Horne, Henry Lewis Marilyn Horne, Henry Lewis - Arias From French Operas Decca, Decca UK 1968 Sell This Version
OS 26064 Henry Lewis - Arias From French Operas album art Marilyn Horne, Henry Lewis Marilyn Horne, Henry Lewis - Arias From French Operas(LP) London Records OS 26064 US 1968 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Symphony No.6 In B Minor album art Tchaikovsky*, Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Tchaikovsky*, Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Symphony No.6 In B Minor (Album) The Decca Record Company Limited US 1969 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Marilyn Horne Sings Bach And Handel album art Marilyn Horne / Bach* / Handel* / Henry Lewis Marilyn Horne / Bach* / Handel* / Henry Lewis - Marilyn Horne Sings Bach And Handel (Album) Decca, Decca UK 1969 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 album art Beethoven* - Henry Lewis, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra* Beethoven* - Henry Lewis, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra* - "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 (Album) London Records US 1969 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Also Sprach Zarathustra album art Richard Strauss - Henry Lewis, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra* Richard Strauss - Henry Lewis, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra* - Also Sprach Zarathustra (Album) London Records France 1970 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Piano Concerto No. 1 In B Flat Minor album art Tchaikovsky* / Ivan Davis (2), Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Tchaikovsky* / Ivan Davis (2), Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Piano Concerto No. 1 In B Flat Minor Decca UK 1970 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Kindertotenlieder / Wesendonk-Lieder album art Mahler* / Wagner* - Marilyn Horne, Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Mahler* / Wagner* - Marilyn Horne, Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Kindertotenlieder / Wesendonk-Lieder Decca, Decca US 1970 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Marilyn Horne Sings Carmen album art Marilyn Horne, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra And Chorus*, Henry Lewis Marilyn Horne, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra And Chorus*, Henry Lewis - Marilyn Horne Sings Carmen London Records US 1971 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Don Juan / Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks album art Richard Strauss, Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Richard Strauss, Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Don Juan / Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks (Album) London Records UK 1971 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Piano Concerto No. 2 In C Minor album art Rachmaninoff* - Ivan Davis (2), Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Rachmaninoff* - Ivan Davis (2), Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Piano Concerto No. 2 In C Minor Decca UK 1971 Sell This Version
SPC 21057 DJ Ivan Davis (2), Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Ivan Davis (2), Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 In C Minor(LP, Album, Promo, Gat) London Records SPC 21057 DJ UK 1971 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Marilyn Horne Sings Rossini album art Marilyn Horne / The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Henry Lewis Marilyn Horne / The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Henry Lewis - Marilyn Horne Sings Rossini Decca UK 1973 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - La Navarraise album art Jules Massenet, Henry Lewis, Marilyn Horne, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Gabriel Bacquier, Nicola Zaccaria, Ryland Davies Jules Massenet, Henry Lewis, Marilyn Horne, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Gabriel Bacquier, Nicola Zaccaria, Ryland Davies - La Navarraise RCA Red Seal US 1975 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Also Sprach Zarathustra - Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks album art Richard Strauss - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra* - Henry Lewis Richard Strauss - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra* - Henry Lewis - Also Sprach Zarathustra - Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks (Album) Decca UK 1975 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Le Prophete album art Giacomo Meyerbeer, Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Marilyn Horne, Renata Scotto, James McCracken, John McCartney Giacomo Meyerbeer, Henry Lewis, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Marilyn Horne, Renata Scotto, James McCracken, John McCartney - Le Prophete (Album) CBS Masterworks 1976 Sell This Version
ARL1-3522 Henry Lewis - Prima Donna / Volume 5 / Great Soprano Arias From Handel To Britten / Semele / Oberon / Norma /  Rigoletto / Tristan Und Isolde / Pagliacci / Gloriana album art Leontyne Price / Philharmonia Orchestra / Henry Lewis Leontyne Price / Philharmonia Orchestra / Henry Lewis - Prima Donna / Volume 5 / Great Soprano Arias From Handel To Britten / Semele / Oberon / Norma / Rigoletto / Tristan Und Isolde / Pagliacci / Gloriana(LP) RCA Red Seal ARL1-3522 US 1980 Sell This Version
CC 7594 Henry Lewis - Piano Concerto No 1 / Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini album art Tchaikovsky* / Rachmaninoff* - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra*, Henry Lewis / London Symphony Orchestra*, Hans Vonk Tchaikovsky* / Rachmaninoff* - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra*, Henry Lewis / London Symphony Orchestra*, Hans Vonk - Piano Concerto No 1 / Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini(LP) Contour Red Label CC 7594 UK 1983 Sell This Version
MCA-6229 Henry Lewis - Gershwin Piano Concerto In F, An American In Paris album art Janis Vakarelis*, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra , Conducted By Henry Lewis Janis Vakarelis*, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra , Conducted By Henry Lewis - Gershwin Piano Concerto In F, An American In Paris(LP) MCA Classics MCA-6229 US 1988 Sell This Version
Henry Lewis - Oscar Hammerstein II's Carmen Jones: Original London Cast Recording album art Oscar Hammerstein II, Bizet*, Wilhelmenia Fernandez*, Sharon Benson, Damon Evans, Michael Austin (5), Gregg Baker, Henry Lewis Oscar Hammerstein II, Bizet*, Wilhelmenia Fernandez*, Sharon Benson, Damon Evans, Michael Austin (5), Gregg Baker, Henry Lewis - Oscar Hammerstein II's Carmen Jones: Original London Cast Recording (Album) EMI Classics, EMI Classics US 1991 Sell This Version
CDC003 Henry Lewis - Joan Of Kent, The British Railway Musical album art Henry Lewis Joan Of Kent, The British Railway Musical(CD, Album) Dress Circle Records CDC003 UK 1993 Sell This Version
475 8493 Henry Lewis - Souvenir Of A Golden Era (The Sisters Garcia) album art Marilyn Horne, L'Orchestre De La Suisse Romande, Henry Lewis Marilyn Horne, L'Orchestre De La Suisse Romande, Henry Lewis - Souvenir Of A Golden Era (The Sisters Garcia)(2xCD, Album) Decca 475 8493 UK 2007 Sell This Version
GM 3013/14/15 Henry Lewis - Le Prophète album art Giacomo Meyerbeer, Henry Lewis, Orchestra Sinfonica Di Torino Della RAI, Coro Di Torino Della RAI, Nicolai Gedda, Marilyn Horne, Margherita Rinaldi, Alfredo Giacomotti, Robert Amis El Hage, Boris Carmeli, Fritz Peter Giacomo Meyerbeer, Henry Lewis, Orchestra Sinfonica Di Torino Della RAI, Coro Di Torino Della RAI, Nicolai Gedda, Marilyn Horne, Margherita Rinaldi, Alfredo Giacomotti, Robert Amis El Hage, Boris Carmeli, Fritz Peter - Le Prophète(3xCD, Box) Claque GM 3013/14/15 Italy Unknown Sell This Version

Compilations

0777 7 54835 2 9, CDC 7 54835 2 Henry Lewis - Musicals! 15 Hit Songs From Classic Musical Shows album art McGlinn* - Lewis* McGlinn* - Lewis* - Musicals! 15 Hit Songs From Classic Musical Shows(CD, Comp) Broadway Angel, Broadway Angel 0777 7 54835 2 9, CDC 7 54835 2 UK 1993 Sell This Version

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