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Title: Interview with Milton Katims - #2
Original format: VHS
Item Id.: spl_ds_mkatims_01_02
Description: This is part 2 of 3 of an interview with Milton Katims. This interview was conducted by Lou Guzzo on May 10, 1986 at Katims’ home.
Milton Katims (1909-2006) was a skilled violist and conductor, leading the Seattle Symphony for over two decades. Katims was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended Columbia University. He taught viola classes at schools such as Julliard, Northwestern University, and the University of Washington. He married his wife, Virginia Peterson, in 1940. In 1943, Katims joined the NBC Symphony Orchestra, a radio orchestra that performed weekly broadcasts, and served as the assistant conductor. He also composed his own music and played with ensembles including the Budapest String Quartet and the New York Piano Quartet. Katims conducted symphonies internationally in locales such as Montreal, Boston, Philadelphia and London. He was the conductor of the Seattle Symphony from 1954 to 1976, helping the symphony to grow in prominence. He played a critical role in garnering support to convert the city’s Civic Auditorium to the Opera House, which was shared by the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Following his time in Seattle, Katims moved to Houston where he worked as the Artistic Director for the University of Houston School of Music for eight years. Following his retirement, he returned to Seattle.
In the interview Katims discusses his family background, his education, memorable people and events from his career and his feelings about the production of music as an art.
This interview is part of the Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection. Don Schmechel, who was a member of the Seattle Public Library Foundation board, began this project with Seattle Public Library in 1984, with the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) brought on board as a partner in early 1985. Schmechel himself worked to raise the funding for the project, and volunteered his time to manage the project, and to conduct interviews along with a crew of volunteers. Originally titled the Videotaping Historic Figures (VHF) Program, the project interviewed 91 people, with a portion of the interviews entering the collections of the Seattle Public Library and a portion of them going to MOHAI.The interviews conducted with these Seattle civic, business and cultural leaders in 1985 are valuable first-hand accounts that provide insight into developments taking place in the mid-twentieth century.
Digitization of this videotape material has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.