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The legendary bassist and conductor Serge Koussevitzky was born in Russia in 1874 to a family of musicians With his brothers he formed a wind ensemble when still a child peforming at local parties and social events He journeyed to Moscow at the age of fourteen winning a scholarship at the Musico-Dramatic Institute to study double bass and music theory He excelled at the bass joining the Bolshoi Theater orchestra at age twenty and succeeding his teacher as the principal bassist at twenty-seven As a soloist he made his Moscow debut in 1901 and won critical accolades for his first Berlin recital in 1903 So great was his success as a solo virtuoso that he resigned from the Bolshoi orchestra moved to Germany and pursued this activity full-timeIn 1908 Koussevitzky made his professional debut as a conductor leading a concert with the Berlin Philharmonic During the same period he branched out into the publishing business forming his own firm and buying the catalogs of many of the greatest composers of the age including Stravinsky Scriabin Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff After the Russian Revolution he returned to his homeland for a brief time to conduct the State Symphony Orchestra in Petrograd in 1920 he made his way to Paris where he organized the Concerts Koussevitzky presenting new works by Prokofiev Stravinsky and Ravel Finally in 1924 he accepted the directorship of the Boston Symphony Orchestra inaugurating a golden era for that ensemble that would continue until 1949In Boston Koussevitzky proved an unexampled champion of new music commissioning important works from Copland Harris Piston Barber Hanson Schuman and his old friends Stravinsky and Ravel In the 1930s he threw his energies behind the development of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood with the BSO he presented the first summer concerts at Tanglewood in 1935 and formally opened the Berkshire Music Center in 1940 with Aaron Copland serving as his deputy director of the facility and its musical pursuits
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