Saturday, April 19, 2014

Akira Endo (1938-2014)

Akira Endo, former music director of the American Ballet Theatre and a frequent guest conductor of Richmond Ballet productions in the 1980s and ’90s, has died at 75 in Boulder, CO.

The Japanese-born Endo, who came to this country in 1954 and earned degrees from the University of Southern California, was a two-time prizewinner in the Dmitri Mitropoulos International Competition for Conductors. At the competition, he came to the attention of Leonard Bernstein, who recommended the young conductor to the ABT.

Endo served as music director of the Austin Symphony (1975-82) and Louisville Orchestra (1980-83), and was a candidate for music director of the Richmond Symphony in 1986-87. He also was music director of ballet companies in Pittsburgh, Miami and Denver, and taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder until his retirement in 2008.