Dino Anagnost, Little Orchestra Society Conductor Has Died

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dino Anagnost, a conductor who served as music director of The Little Orchestra Society since 1979, died in Manhattan on Thursday after a long illness. His death was confirmed by Joanne Bernstein-Cohen, the executive director of the New York-based orchestra.

Anagnost took over the directorship of the 60-member professional chamber orchestra after its founder, conductor Thomas Scherman, died in 1979. Under Anagnost’s direction, the ensemble presented an annual series of concerts at Alice Tully Hall, Zankel Hall and the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York, as well as two longstanding children's series, "Happy Concerts" and "Lolli-pops."

Anagnost was especially known for building creative and sometimes offbeat programs like "Music Takes Flight," an aviation-themed concert that ranged from Samuel Barber to Glenn Miller (co-produced with WQXR's Elliott Forrest); and “The Two Annas: Vivaldi's Muses,” which looked at the composer’s relationships with young women at an orphanage where he worked. Vivaldi was a longstanding interest and the Society presented an annual Vivaldi program for 20 years.

Born and raised in Manchester, N.H., Anagnost graduated from Boston University. He moved to New York to receive master's in conducting from the Juilliard School and a PhD in music from Columbia University.

A Greek-American with an ongoing interest in Greek music, Anagnost founded several choral groups in the 1980s including the Orpheon Chorale and the Metropolitan Singers/The Greek Choral Society, based at Teacher’s College, Columbia University. He was also dean of music at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral of North and South America on East 74th Street.

Anagnost also had an interest in vocal music, leading operas by Mozart, Strauss, Bizet, Puccini and Vivaldi and the operettas of Sousa, Herbert, Strauss and Sullivan. He gave the Asian premieres of Menotti’s The Medium and Amelia Goes to the Ball; and Poulenc’s La Voix humaine for PBS's “Great Performances.”

In an age when many conductors move from post to post, the majority of Anagnost’s career was devoted to his work with The Little Orchestra Society, which was founded in 1957. Known as a gregarious personality and public speaker, Anagnost frequently spoke to audiences from the stage and narrated concerts.

Anagnost is survived by a brother, sister, sister-in-law and three nephews.

Bernstein-Cohen said the Society has lined up guest conductors to lead its remaining concerts this season, including four concerts this weekend. The orchestra plans a leadership search later this spring. “It’s a huge loss personally and professionally for the orchestra but it is and was his wish that the orchestra continue as his legacy for everyone in New York City,” said Bernstein-Cohen.

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Comments [23]

Bryan Katchay from Mount Pleasant, Iowa

It was my pleasure to sing with the Metropolitan Singers/Greek Choral Society while a graduate student at CU Teachers College from 1984-1986. During that time, I studied voice with the Maestro. Among the highlights was to sing with a small group at the Cathedral for Greek Easter followed by breakfast at 4am; and a special concert at Alice Tully Hall where Mozart met Handel on Stage. We sang Handel's Theodora for the 4 hours duration and I believe that performance at the Cathedral in 1985 was the first in the east coast in 25 years at that time. The Maestro set many standards for so many people. You will be missed. Rest in peace dear friend!

Aug. 20 2013 01:45 AM
Stephanie Taylor from New York City

Everyone fiercely loved Dino, you couldn't help it. In a concert hall full of admirers,loyal fans and performers whenever your eyes met he knew you, whatever his mood or state of mind he always had a moment reserved just for you. A truly beautiful person whose life experiences shaped him in to an engaging, musical magic man, you had to be there to know what I mean. Dino was an other worldly experience. I was a member of the Metropolitan Singers I was friends with Dino and Alice. I am proud and honored to have been in his presence. See you in another life Maestro....

Dec. 07 2012 02:03 PM
Antoinette Taddeo from Montreal, Quebec

As a Canadian studying at Columbia in 1979, I had the privilege of having voice lessons with Dr. Anagnost, and in singing with his choir. He was an excellent teacher, a consummate professional. May he rest in peace.

Antoinette Taddeo

Jun. 10 2011 08:27 AM
Jay Strauss from New York

What a lovely man....who knew exactly what he wanted from performers and was able to gently coax us into the good work he so rightly required. He had a sparkle in his eye which was enervating and nurturing. I will always remember his kindness and his brilliance.

May. 30 2011 12:13 PM
carolyn sielski from allendale NJ

Dino taught me how to sing! Each week in the 70's I had a lesson in his beautiful apartment on 103rd street. He was a generous teacher.....he gave so much of himself with music. I received wonderful singing jobs because of his teaching!! He introduced me and taught me vocal works I would have never known if it weren't for his knowledge. A big piece of me goes with Dino and stays with me as well. My prayers go out to his family.

May. 25 2011 10:56 AM
Nancy from NY

I was very saddened when i heard about the news. I was Dr. Anagnost's teaching assistant for his Choral Conducting class at Teachers College, CU. He was one of the best Conducting instructors/teacher one could have ever had. He will be greatly missed.

Apr. 04 2011 10:26 PM
Eva Karas

I sang with Dino for more than 20 years with the Metropolitan Singers and they were some of the best years of my life. He was an extraordinary talent and I deeply lament his passing. Rest In Peace good friend.

Apr. 03 2011 08:06 PM

Mr. Anagnost will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. He was one of the first people to give me the gift of music, and for that I will always be grateful.

Apr. 02 2011 08:43 AM
George Strum

Dino was a great vocal coach. I'll always remember him for that.

Apr. 01 2011 10:58 PM
Larry Fried from Bellevue, Washington

I was Orchestra Manager and Artistic Administrator of LOS for almost five years. Dino had a great and imaginative musical mind. His concerts were truly one-of-a-kind. The last time I spoke with him was ten years ago, when I was living in San Antonio. I called to tell him that I had found a secret source for Cuban cigars. I knew he'd want to buy a box, too!

God needed a conductor. That's why he took Dino. I'm sure he'll be conducting Lolli-Pops concerts up there very soon.

Apr. 01 2011 09:09 PM
Dan Brown from White Plains, NY

I can't begin to express the sense of loss so many of us feel at Dino's passing. His generosity and heart were as big as his beaming smile. His spirit and boundless energy were infectious. Nineteen years of working with Dino have passed much too quickly and I am ever grateful for having known and learned from him.

Apr. 01 2011 05:53 PM
Georgeann Mavrovitis from Yonkers, NY

Dino was not only a wonderful and stimulating maestro of the Little Orchestra Society and his choral groups, but he was a devoted church musician as well. As a member of the Board of the Direct Archdiocesan Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians, I can say that he and his musical guidance will be greatly missed.

Apr. 01 2011 05:46 PM
Steve Schlesinger

Another correction: The Little Orchestra Society was founded in 1947.

Apr. 01 2011 02:49 PM
Nikki Weiss from Rye Brook, NY

I worked for Maestro in the mid-nineties. I am so sad to hear of his passing. He was such a vibrant, warm and loving man. My heart goes out to his family.

Apr. 01 2011 02:05 PM

Robert - My apologies! You are correct. Thank you for pointing that out.


Apr. 01 2011 01:44 PM
Rebecca David from Manhattan

Every year my husband and I look forward to the concert Maestro Anagnost had put together the last one was "Music Takes Flight," with Elliot Forrest who did the film/video clips.
That was most enjoyable as were all other concerts he had presented. They were mostly whimsical, made us feel light and glad we chose his concert among other offerings for that day in NYC concert halls.
We don't know him personally but through his performances we felt he was a nice, sweet and kind man.
We will miss him terribly.

Apr. 01 2011 01:35 PM
Robert from Manhattan

This is for Midge......why do I think that Thomas Scherman was the founder of The Little Orchestra Society? Just curious.

Apr. 01 2011 01:24 PM
Jo Kirsch

I am so sad to hear of the death of the Maestro. My daughter, son and now my grandchild were privelegd to have enjoyed and learned to love music from their experiences witht the little Orchestra Society.

Apr. 01 2011 12:31 PM
Vincenzo Birli from Staten Island, NY

I have been a member since 2004 with the chorus, under the direction of the Maestro. I myself, and all of us will miss him with the Greatest Immensity. Those who had the privilege to work with the Maestro, knew the kind person he was. Words are not enough to express the LOVE WE ALL had for him. If it wasn't for him, I would have never advance as a singer. As I am today, as I am today soever grateful to him. I hold a special place in my heart for him. We have learned much from him. Yes, a Great Light, has gone out, and the likes of him can never be replace nor come close to his likeness. He was Unique in so many ways. The patience, devotion, and time that he devoted into his work. I had never experience this with such a man like the Maestro. He always amazed me, how he would jump to and fro, through music scores, and put everything

together so perfectly. This indeed was a Gifted man. You had to be among us to grasp this

amazing man. I will miss him, and he will be missed by "ALL" of us. Now he's lay to rest, until

until then, when he is called out, to rise again. ..... Addio, Caro mio, Maestro!

Apr. 01 2011 12:26 PM
Anna Doumas Sclafani from NYC

A light has gone out & there will never be another one quite like Dino. I was a member of the Metropolitan Greek Chorale & learned so much from him. We remained close friends for 40 years & I will always miss him. Rest in Peace my friend.

Apr. 01 2011 09:00 AM
John Moses from NYC

Dino and I were good friends for 25+ years and I will miss him dearly. Dino was a kind and generous man, he gave so much to so many children over his many years with the Little Orchestra Society. May his passing be a blessing.

Apr. 01 2011 12:38 AM
Alan Kay from Leonia, NJ

It's been my great pleasure and joy to be have been a member of the Little Orchestra Society for many years. I am deeply saddened by the loss of our Maestro, Dino Anagnost. His warmth, tireless dedication and love for his musicians, performers and staff made the organization truly special. His children's programming, in the form of the famed Lolli-Pops and Happy concerts, have provided an invaluable and first-rate service to the community; his memory will live on through these concerts, a great legacy for an exceptional man and musician. I will miss him.

Apr. 01 2011 12:20 AM
Michael Meltzer

That's very sad. I remember Mr. Anagnost as a client from the 1970's when he was the very knowledgeable, congenial and enthusiastic young conductor of the Metropolitan Greek Chorale.
The music world is diminished.

Mar. 31 2011 10:18 PM

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