Who’d have guessed? Mahler makes one reference in a letter to the freedoms he found in America – one of which was the right of every man to greet the President if he met him on the street, or walk on by. But no record of such a meeting has ever come to light
Now, that assiduous Mahler researcher Michael Bosworth, based in Hanoi, Vietnam, has come up with documentary proof of a dinner where Mahler shared a table with the 27th President of the US, William Howard Taft. It took place at the Press Club on January 21, 1911, a day after Mahler conducted his fourth symphony at Carnegie Hall. The president was said to be ‘in jovial mood’. The press chorus sang an ode to ‘our handy, dandy, candy President Taft – Bill Taft!’.
Michel Bosworth assumes that Mahler was placed at the President’s table because he was due to take the New York Philharmonic to Washington DC three days later.