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1938 - 2014
Maestro Akira Endo of Boulder, CO, died Thursday, April 3, 2014, at the age of 75. He was born to the late Hikataro and Reiko Endo on November 16, 1938, in Shido, Japan, and was preceded in death by his brother, Shigehiko; and sister, Midori. Akira moved to the United States in 1954 to complete his high school education. He attended the University of Southern California where he was the concertmaster for the USC Symphony from 1960-1962, when he completed his Bachelor of Music-Cum Laude and Master of Music-Violin Performance. He began his professional career as a professor at Long Beach City College. Akira was twice awarded third prize at the prestigious Dimitri Mitropoulos International Competition for Conductors, which proved to be a spring board to national prominence when the late Leonard Bernstein recommended him to the conductor's position at the American Ballet Theater. During his ten years with ABT, he had the opportunity to conduct for almost all the major dancers during his tenure, including Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. He also held positions as the music director for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Miami City Ballet and the Colorado Ballet. Akira held positions as the principal conductor and music director for the Austin Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, the Long Beach Symphony, and the Hamilton Philharmonic in Canada. He also appeared as the guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the San Antonio Symphony, the Utah Symphony, and many others as well as several orchestras and music festivals in Europe and South America. Maestro Endo also held teaching positions at the University of Miami, Duquesne University, and the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he retired in 2008. He was also a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Stanford University, Rice University, and the University of Oklahoma. He recorded extensively during his conducting career. Maestro Endo's recording of the 20th Century Double-Reed Music for Crystal Records with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic earned him a Grammy nomination. Akira is survived by his wife, Keiko, of 20 years; and three children, Stephanie Endo, son, Gregory, and daughter-in-law, Jill, and Julie Gall and his son-in-law, Roger Gall; and five grandchildren, Austin, Kimberly, Cameron, Miles, and Danielle; and beloved cats, Foggy, Hazy, and Dewey. Please see www.facebook.com/endosfinale for information regarding a memorial service which will be held in Austin, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Apr. 12 to Apr. 13, 2014
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