Being the son of the New York Philharmonic concertmaster

Being the son of the New York Philharmonic concertmaster


norman lebrecht

October 06, 2018

The composer John Corigliano grew up in the house of the toughest violinist in the toughest town on earth.

His father was hired by Toscanini and stayed on for 26 years, through to the Bernstein era.

‘He didn’t want me to be a composer,’ says Corigliano, ‘he felt I was only dooming myself to a miserable life.’

In the latest episode of Living the Classical Life, John tells Zsolt Bognar about their complicated relationship, about losing 100 friends to Aids, about stage fright, and much else. John Corigliano turned 80 this year.

Watch the full interview:

John Corigliano – Living the Classical Life: Episode 60 from Elyria Pictures on Vimeo.


  • Ricardo says:

    I was fortunate to be in the orchestra (Eastman Philharmonia conducted by David Effron) for the first recording of the Pied Piper Fantasy and Voyage (both of which I love), with Galway as the soloist. It is one of my dearest memories from my time at Eastman.

  • William Evans says:

    Mr Corigliano seems a very modest and clearly thoughtful individual. As a non-musician, I find Mr Bognar’s occasional interviews always to be interesting.

  • David Dyer says:

    I hadn’t known Fortunato Arico had died of AIDS, very sad to hear it. Such a loss.

  • Scott MacClelleand says:

    A frequent composer-in-residence at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, John admitted to me that he was much closer to his mother than to his aloof taskmaster father. It’s not an unfamiliar story among artists–much less fathers and sons everywhere.