Former UNT orchestra leader, conductor & author wins award

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 15:46
Shoot the Conductor - Anshel Brusilow
Shoot the Conductor - Anshel Brusilow

Denton, TX-- Retired University of North Texas Director of Orchestral Studies, Dallas author and conductor Anshel Brusilow won Gold in Foreword Reviews' 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards. The honor was for his memoir Shoot the Conductor: Too Close to Monteux, Szell, and Ormandy, co-written with Robin Underdahl and published by UNT Press.

Narrowed down from nearly 2,000 entries by a panel of librarians and booksellers, along with Foreword Reviews' editorial staff, the winners in 66 categories are considered the year's best books published by independent publishers, university presses and self-published authors.

Shoot the Conductor is the story of Brusilow who started playing violin in 1933 at age 5 in a Russian Jewish neighborhood of Philadelphia where practicing your instrument was as ordinary as hanging out the laundry. At 16, he was soloing with the Philadelphia Orchestra and became the youngest conducting student ever accepted by famed French composer Pierre Monteux.

Brusilow's tumultuous relationships with Monteux, conductor and composer George Szell and Eugene Ormandy, conductor and violinist, shaped his early career. Under Szell, Brusilow was associate concertmaster at the Cleveland Orchestra until Ormandy, a father figure, snatched him away to make him concertmaster in Philadelphia, where he remained from 1959 to 1966. He knew he wanted to be a conductor and decided to form chamber groups on the side while conducting Philadelphia Orchestra summer concerts. The price of his transition was high – it ruined his father-son relationship with Ormandy. Brusilow turned in his violin bow for the baton and created his own Philadelphia Chamber Symphony. In 1971, he took on the then-troubled Dallas Symphony Orchestra and from 1973-1982, and then again from 1989-2008, he served as director of orchestral studies in the UNT College of Music.

In 2009, UNT established a $1,000,000 endowment which includes the creation of a faculty position, the Anshel Brusilow Chair for Orchestral Studies in his honor.

Brusilow's memoir is a fascinating view of American classical music as well as an inspiring story of a working-class immigrant making good in a tough arena. Winner of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference Manuscript Contest, the book was released in hardcover on July 15, 2015, and will be available in paperback on August 15, 2016. It can be purchased on Amazon, Indiebound, Barnes & Noble and direct through the distributor Texas Book Consortium.

Contact: Bonnie Stufflebeam, UNT Press Marketing Manager


Phone: 940-565-2142