Manuel Rosenthal

French composer and orchestra conductor (Paris, 1904 – Paris, 2003)

Reputed conductor and ardent defender of the French music of his time, Manuel Rosenthal was also a composer and an arranger and received many prizes for his work, including the prizes Blumenthal, Charles Cros and Ravel.

Manuel Rosenthal was a student of the violinist Jules Boucherit at the Paris Conservatoire in 1918 and composed his first piece in 1922, Sonatine for two violins and piano. After that, he studied the counterpoint with Jean Huré. When he met Maurice Ravel in 1925, he joined his composition class. This encounter was a decisive moment for Manuel Rosenthal's musical career. During the 1920's, he joined the orchestras Lamoureux and Pasdeloup and started with the latter his conducting activities in 1928.

Percussionist for the creation with the Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française in 1934, he was also appointed assisting conductor of Désiré Ingelbrecht who conducted at the time the ONF. Then, he became the permanent conductor and music director of that ensemble in 1944 with which he created his piece Musique de table. He left his office in 1947 and was appointed the following year permanent conductor of the Seattle Symphony. With this formation, he generalized the works of Stravinsky, Bartok, Hindemith, and Schoenberg but also of many French composers such as Darius Milhaud, André Jolivet, Daniel-Jean-Yves Lesur, Jean Françaix, and Charles Chaynes.

Professor of the orchestra conducting class at the Paris Conservatoire from 1962 until 1974, he witnessed major events in the life of the French music, like the inauguration of the Rolf Liebermann era at the Opera de Paris in 1973 conducting Gluck's Orfeo. Manuel Rosenthal was appointed Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur for his involvement in the French music's scene.

Six landmark dates in the life of Manuel Rosenthal

1925: became one of the few disciples of Maurice Ravel

1934-39: assistant of Désiré Inghelbrecht, conductor of the Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française

1944-47: was appointed permanent conductor and music director of the Orchestre National

1948-51: became the permanent conductor of the Seattle Symphony

1962-74: orchestra conducting professor at the Paris Conservatoire

1964-1967: was appointed permanent conductor and director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège

Six key pieces by Manuel Rosenthal

1923-1926 Rayon de soieries

1938 Gaîté parisienne. arrangements of pieces of Jacques Offenbach

1949 Symphonie

1956 Les femmes au tombeau

1957-1961 Hop Signor

1972 2 Études en camaïeu