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Mischa John Semanitzky


1928 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Mischa John Semanitzky Obituary
Semanitzky, Mischa (Michael) John
Mischa (Michael) John Semanitzky, 1928-2017, died December 3 in Phoenix. 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 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, and music director and conductor of Pittsburgh Ballet, Les Grands Ballet Canadians of Montreal, and conductor of the Dallas Ballet. He conducted orchestras in Korea, Mexico, Russia, and Canada, and cities throughout the United States and Europe. A highlight for him personally was conducting in Russia because of his Russian heritage. He founded and was Music Director and Conductor of Music in The Mountains, a music festival that included a full orchestra, chamber music series, and conservatory in Durango, Colorado, from which he retired after 24 years. He earned Bachelors and Masters 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, all of Connecticut. Services will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Phoenix, at 11:00 am Saturday, December 9th. If desired, memorials may be made to Music in the Mountains, 1911 Main Avenue, Durango, CO 81302, or Arizona Opera, 1636 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, 85004. Arrangements entrusted to Messinger Indian School Mortuary.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Dec. 7, 2017
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