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Mischa Semanitzky

1928 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Mischa Semanitzky Obituary
Conductor and violinist Mischa (Michael) John Semanitzky, 89, died December 3 in Phoenix after a long illness. Born in Pittsburgh, PA , the son of Archpriest Very Right Reverend John Semanitzky and Katherine Jusciscin Semanitzky , he attended several grade schools as his family moved to different parishes.

He began violin training at age 5, and his conducting career at age 10, conducting his father's church choir. His Carnegie Hall debut as a violinist earned raves from The New York Times as "a musician of impeccable taste , with a dramatic flair." He served as concertmaster of the Nashville Symphony, assistant conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony under Steinberg, music director and conductor of Pittsburgh Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens of Montreal and conductor of the Dallas Ballet . He conducted orchestras in Korea, Mexico, Russia and Canada as well as cities throughout the United States and Europe. A highlight for him personally, because of his Russian heritage, was conducting several times in Russia. He founded and was Music Director and Conductor of Music in The Mountains, a classical music festival that included an orchestra, chamber music series and conservatory in Durango, Colorado, from which he retired in 2007 after 24 years. He earned Bachelor and Master's degrees from Yale University and his Doctorate from Columbia University. He enjoyed his professorships at Butler University and Kansas State University, and his work with Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management. He served on many arts boards, and developed, with Mayor Annette Straus, the Sammons Center for the Arts in Dallas. Mischa is predeceased by his parents, three sisters, Mary, Nancy and Olga, and his daughter, Darya. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Jenny St. John, her children Ben and Amanda, four grandsons, Chase, Cody, Evan and Andrew, and nieces and nephew Barbara, Kathy, Paul, Mary and Ollie. Services were scheduled at All Saints Episcopal Church, Phoenix, at 11 a.m. Saturday, December 9. If desired, memorials may be made to Music in the Mountains, P.O. Box 3751, Durango, CO 81301, or Arizona Opera. 1636 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, 85004.
Published in The Durango Herald on Dec. 6, 2017
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