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Is this the oldest conductor still at work?

A colleague in Montreal informs me that Franz-Paul Decker is conducting the Alpine Symphony there next week. Decker is one of the last people alive who knew Richard Strauss and had the chance to discuss music with him.

He is going to be 89 in June and to say that his career has had its ups and downs is like describing what happened to the Titanic as an understandable navigational error. The difference is, Decker is still there and may right now be the absolute doyen of his profession.

Does anyone know an older maestro still active?

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  1. Skrowaczewski is conducting Minnesota this week, and I believe he’s shortly to turn 89.

  2. Mikhail Hallak says:

    Anton Coppola, b.1917

  3. Francis Travis recently had his 90th birthday celebration concert, conducting a small string orchestra:

  4. I first met Franz-Paul in Rotterdam when I was eighteen years old, on my way to Berlin to study.
    Then our paths crossed again, when he came to New Zealand to become chief conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. (a post he hgeld for many years) of which I was a playing principal for many years. I believe Decker has never realised his full potential. He is a superb conductor from whom I learned much. For some unknown reason he has never achieved the heights he surely deserved. He must be one of the finest conductors of Richard Strauss and music from the German romantic era. I am not sure that he even had an agent ? He certainly never sought out the press or any publicity preferring to concentrate on the task in hand, conducting.I whished I was in Montreal to hear his version of Straus’s Alpine Symphony, they hired the best to do it.
    Gary Brain (OBE)

  5. Maestro Anton Coppola (b. March 21, 1917) conducting AIDA with Opera Tampa this weekend.

  6. Howard Cable was born Dec 15 1920, and is a conductor, arranger and composer. Last year he conducted the premiere of a new composition with Symphony Nova Scotia, among other orchestras. He’ll be returning this fall, Nov 2 and 3rd – no doubt both performances will sell out.

    Mr. Cable has an active Facebook page, streaming site on CBC MUSIC, and a Google search returns many links including his profile on the Canadian Encyclopedia of Music:

  7. I conducted at a memorial prgvram for a friend last March 18th. and have only recently given up the Bach Festival of Philadelphia.
    Greetings !

  8. Arthur Kaptainis says:

    Melancholy news: Decker cancelled. Still waiting on details. The press release from the Montreal Symphony cites the usual “health reasons.”

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