Ezra Rachlin

Pianist Conductor

Ezra Rachlin (born 5 December 1915 in Hollywood, California USA died aged 79 on Jan 21, 1995 in London UK) took up conducting when in his twenties after a meteoric worldwide career as a pianist. His piano teachers were the finest of their time, all legendary names in the golden age when Ezra was growing up – Moritz Mayer-Mahr, Leopold Godowsky, Joseph Lhevinne, Moritz Rosenthal, Josef Hofmann, Sergei Rachmaninov. He studied conducting with Fritz Reiner at the Curtis Institute of Music where his classmates included Leonard Bernstein, Gian Carlo Menotti, Samuel Barber, Leonard Rose, Lukas Foss and Leonard Pennario.

In 1939 he was appointed Musical Director and Conductor of the Philadelphia Opera Company. From 1946-1949 Rachlin was personal conductor and accompanist to Lauritz Melchior the great Danish tenor, conducting for him on all his world tours. From 1949-1969 he held the post of Musical Director and Conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra in Texas. A close association with Leopold Stokowski led to his engagement as permanent Guest Conductor of the Houston Symphony Orchestra where he was appointed Musical Director and Conductor of the Houston Summer Symphony series from 1958-1965. In addition he was in charge of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra from 1965-1971. After three years as Chief Conductor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (Australia) 1970-1972, where he also conducted the other Australian orchestras of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Rachlin relinquished his post to devote himself to his free lance commitments in Europe, Latin America, Israel and the USA.

Returning to the UK, Ezra Rachlin conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in a series of recordings that won him a Golden Disc and performed as Guest Conductor with the Halle and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Rachlin was first married to Carmen Alfandary in May 1941 in Rio de Janeiro. Carmen died November 23, 2010. They had one son, Michael Luis, born July 28, 1944. His second marriage was to Ann Ziff (nee Lyttleton) in London on May 25 1969. www.annrachlin.com

Ezra Rachlin died of complications following vascular surgery aged 79 in St Mary’s Hospital, London on January 21st 1995. He is buried in Hoop Lane Jewish Cemetery, London. He is survived by his wife Ann, son Michael and three step-children Jan, Trisha and Max Ziff and several step-grandchildren.


The entire Ezra Rachlin Archive, including historic letters, newspaper cuttings and reviews, recordings, scores, programmes and photographic prints and negatives etc., now belongs to the University of Durham where students and researchers can view it by contacting

Jon Purcell
University Librarian
University Library
Durham University
Stockton Road

Tel: 0191 334 2960
Email: jon.purcell@durham.ac.uk

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