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Fiora Contino (Conductor)

Born: USA

The American conductor, Fiora Contino, was born into an eminent musical family. Her father, Ferruccio Corradetti, was a leading baritone at La Scala and other principal European opera houses. She graduated from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano. She furthered her musical training in Europe studying conducting at the Conservatoire Americain in Fontainebleau and the Ecole Normale in Paris with renowned pedagogue Nadia Boulanger, and at the Akademie Vienna with Hans Swarowsky. She then earned a Master's Degree, with distinction, and a Doctorate of Music in conducting from Indiana University School of Music. She was awarded the 1960 Premier Prix Hors Concours, cum laude from the Conservatoire in the field of conducting.

A respected educator, Fiora Contino has held teaching positions at Hillsdale College, Smith College, and Mount Holyoke College, as Director of Opera and Choral Activities at Bowling Green State University, and as principal conductor and Chairman of the Choral Department at Indiana University. She also served at Peabody Institute, and The University of Texas at Austin.

Fiora Contino has conducted opera performances for Aspen Musical Festival, Memphis Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Spring Opera Theater of the San Francisco Opera, Anchorage Opera, and the Teatro Grattacielo at Alice Tully Hall in New York City. Her performance of Puccini's Madama Butterfly with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, was greeted by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin as "...magnificent, moving and of the very first order. Fiora Contino towered over everything as the conductor and music director. She held everything together with a baton that was sharp and in clear control of a magnificently coordinated performance. Her presence would do honor to any opera house in the world." She has led many productions for the Memphis Opera, including a performance of Puccini's Turandot with Birgit Nilsson.

Fiora Contino has been a regular conductor at the Temple University Music Festival in Ambler, Pennsylvania and Director of the Choral Institute at the Aspen Music Festival. She has also led performances with the symphony orchestras of New Orleans, Hartford, Baltimore, Memphis, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and San Antonio.

New York columnist Byron Belt wrote of her in the Sunday Press: “She is too little known, but Ms. Contino is certainly one of the outstanding women conductors of our day - and we mention the sex…to underscore the fact because a man of her superlative gifts would surely be an international superstar today.”

Source: Fiora Contino Website; Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble Website; Indiana University Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2011)

Fiora Contino: Short Biography | Indiana University Pro Arte Singers | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Fiora Contino - Conductor (Official Website)
Giving Hidden Opera Classics a Moment in the Sun (NY Times) [Nov 2001]

Fiora Contino (Indiana University)

Fiuora Contino (dell’Arte Opera Ensemble)

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