Martin C. Dreiwitz, who drew on his twin passions for journey and classical music to discovered the globe-trotting Lengthy Island Youth Orchestra, conducting his scholar musicians earlier than audiences as shut as Nice Neck and Brookville and as distant as Karachi and Kathmandu, died on June 20 at a hospital close to his dwelling in Oyster Bay, N.Y. He was 91.
Steven Behr, the president of the orchestra’s board of administrators, mentioned the trigger was a coronary heart assault.
The orchestra might have counted some 100 performers, however Mr. Dreiwitz (pronounced DRY-witz) was virtually a one-man present: He raised the funds, he scouted for brand new members, he cajoled mother and father to convey snacks on rehearsal days, and he carried out each efficiency from its founding in 1962 to his retirement in 2012.
He was additionally the orchestra’s journey agent. Along with enjoying 4 concert events a 12 months, principally at a efficiency corridor on the campus of Lengthy Island College Put up in Brookville, N.Y., the orchestra went on a summer season tour, nearly all the time overseas, with a number of stops and sometimes on a number of continents. One journey, in 1977, took them to Greece, Kenya, the Seychelles, India, Sri Lanka and Israel, with each element organized by Mr. Dreiwitz.
Although he skilled as a classical clarinetist, Mr. Dreiwitz was, in reality, a journey agent by commerce, and he used his expertise and connections to plot intricate journeys that even an expert orchestra would possibly shrink from. He took delight in being among the many first Western orchestras to play in locations like Pakistan and Nepal, performing sold-out exhibits with college students who typically had by no means earlier than left Lengthy Island.
He handled his musicians like adults, and noticed his mission as one much less about pedagogy than about preparation for an expert music profession. He eschewed the everyday youth orchestra fare — Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Frequent Man,” Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” — in favor of deep cuts from Mozart and Rossini and avant-garde composers like Virgil Thomson (a private pal, who typically used the orchestra to test-run his newest work).
He additionally tended to keep away from Broadway scores, although he did have a comfortable spot for the music of George Gershwin, particularly “Porgy and Bess,” and sometimes included choices from that opera on the orchestra’s summer season tour.
Mr. Dreiwitz noticed journey as one other type of preparation. It was, he insisted, essential for budding violists and clarinetists to discover ways to carry out at their greatest in unusual new venues, in unusual new cities, in entrance of unusual new audiences.
However he additionally merely liked the problem of planning, say, a five-week journey for 85 college students throughout 5 nations in East Asia. In between elevating cash and operating rehearsals, in the course of the faculty 12 months he would sprint off on reconnaissance journeys, scouting every website for an upcoming tour — arranging motels (or simply as typically non-public properties), testing venues, even taste-testing eating places. When the scholars arrived, months later, the whole lot could be excellent.
The orchestra ran on a shoestring funds, particularly early on, when Mr. Dreiwitz refused to cost tuition. As a substitute, funds got here from household donations, annual sweet gross sales and, very often, his personal pocket. Each spring he provided a $2,500 scholarship to be cut up among the many three greatest highschool seniors, as judged by an out of doors panel.
Mr. Dreiwitz’s onerous work paid off. The orchestra’s 4,000 (and counting) alumni have gone on to play in most of the nation’s main firms, together with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and so they populate numerous chamber teams and tutorial music departments.
Mr. Dreiwitz might be stern and exacting on the rostrum, however, lots of his former musicians mentioned, he ran the orchestra like a household, fostering a vibe of collegiality as a substitute of competitiveness.
“I don’t twist anybody’s arm to affix,” he instructed The New York Occasions in 1964. “They’re giving up their very own time as a result of they love music and wish a chance to play. I don’t assume you’ll find a extra enthusiastic group of musicians anyplace.”
Martin Charles Dreiwitz was born in Weehawken, N.J, on June 15, 1931, and raised in Brooklyn. His father, Samuel Dreiwitz, labored within the fur business, and his mom, Charlotte (Silver) Dreiwitz, was a homemaker.
He’s survived by his two sons, Tuan Dinh and Dung Dinh.
A gifted musician whilst a baby, he performed clarinet and graduated from the Excessive College of Music & Artwork in Manhattan (now the Fiorello H. LaGuardia Excessive College of Music & Artwork and Performing Arts), and he majored in music on the College of Chicago. Alongside the best way he studied beneath woodwind luminaries like Simeon Bellison, the principal clarinetist for New York Philharmonic, and Anthony Gigliotti, who held the identical publish with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
After graduating from school in 1953, he moved to Europe, the place he traveled and studied to be a conductor, together with a stint with Wilhelm Furtwängler in Vienna.
He returned to the US within the early Nineteen Sixties and settled in suburban Lengthy Island, hoping to discover a job conducting. To make ends meet, he took a job as a journey agent and provided non-public clarinet classes on the aspect.
Sooner or later in 1962, one in every of his notably gifted college students put down his instrument and frowned.
“I’ve gotten this far,” Mr. Dreiwitz recalled the scholar saying, “and now I have to wait years, till I get into a significant orchestra, earlier than I get some actually good expertise. The place do I am going from right here?”
The seed was planted, and took root: Mr. Dreiwitz held auditions for what he initially known as the North Shore Symphony Orchestra in September 1962. He began with simply 52 musicians, and so they held a live performance the following spring. A couple of years later, he took them on their first journey, to Chicopee, Mass.
It was cease and go within the early years, with Mr. Dreiwitz hitting up Nassau County music academics to search out promising gamers. However by the tip of the Nineteen Sixties, he now not wanted to. Keen college students lined up outdoors his journey company to audition, and yearly he had a wait record. The orchestra went on its first abroad journey, to Europe, in 1971.
He took emeritus standing in 2012, handing the baton to Scott Dunn, a former scholar. He continued to come back in to rehearsals at L.I.U. Put up, although much less and fewer typically, after which under no circumstances.
However Mr. Dreiwitz had yet one more hurrah. In 2018, tons of of alumni returned for a live performance in his honor, and he even mounted the rostrum, to conduct a variety from his beloved “Porgy and Bess.”