ON THIS DAY: October 16

ON THIS DAY: October 16

ON THIS DAY IN TEENAGE HISTORY (1932), Henry Lewis was born. At age sixteen in 1948 he debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, making him the first African-American instrumentalist with a major American orchestra. He would also be the first African-American to conduct a world-class orchestra (1960), the first to be music director of a major orchestra (1968), and the first to conduct at the Metropolitan Opera (1972). The New York Times in 1996 described Lewis the conductor as “musically brilliant and a commanding figure with the baton.”

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