Theodore Bloomfield
Theodore Robert Bloomfield (June 14, 1923 – April 1, 1998) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


Born in Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

 he studied music at Oberlin College
Oberlin College
Oberlin College is a private liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, noteworthy for having been the first American institution of higher learning to regularly admit female and black students. Connected to the college is the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the oldest continuously operating...

 in Ohio and conducting with Edgar Schenkman for two years on a fellowship at The Juilliard School
Juilliard School
The Juilliard School, located at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, United States, is a performing arts conservatory which was established in 1905...

 in Manhattan. He studied French horn to gain experience in orchestral performance, and he also studied piano with the Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

an pianist Claudio Arrau
Claudio Arrau
Claudio Arrau León was a Chilean pianist known for his interpretations of a vast repertoire spanning from the baroque to 20th-century composers, especially Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms and Debussy...

. For two summers, he studied conducting with Pierre Monteux
Pierre Monteux
Pierre Monteux was an orchestra conductor. Born in Paris, France, Monteux later became an American citizen.-Life and career:Monteux was born in Paris in 1875. His family was descended from Sephardi Jews who came to France in the wake of the Spanish Inquisition. He studied violin from an early age,...

 in Hancock, Maine
Hancock, Maine
Hancock is a town in Hancock County, Maine, United States. The population was 2,147 at the 2000 census. Located on the mainland at the head of Frenchman Bay, Hancock has commanding views of Mount Desert Island.-History:...

. In 1946, Monteux conducted the San Francisco Symphony
San Francisco Symphony
The San Francisco Symphony is an orchestra based in San Francisco, California. Since 1980, the orchestra has performed at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus are part of the organization...

 in the premiere of Bloomfield’s transcription of Bach
Bạch is a Vietnamese surname. The name is transliterated as Bai in Chinese and Baek, in Korean.Bach is the anglicized variation of the surname Bạch.-Notable people with the surname Bạch:* Bạch Liêu...

’s Toccata and Fugue in C major
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major, BWV 564
Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C major is an organ composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. Similar to most other organ works by Bach, the autograph score does not survive. The earliest manuscript copies were probably made in 1719–1727...

. Artur Rodzinski
Artur Rodzinski
Artur Rodziński was a Polish conductor of opera and symphonic music. He is especially noted for his tenures as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic in the 1930s and 1940s.-Biography:...

 conducted the New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic is a symphony orchestra based in New York City in the United States. It is one of the American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five"...

 premiere of Bloomfield’s Toccata and Fugue transcription on October 3, 1946. Olin Downes
Olin Downes
Olin Downes was an American music critic.He studied piano, music theory, and music criticism in New York and Boston, and it was in those two cities that he made his career as a music critic—first with the Boston Post and then with the New York Times...

 review stated “This is a sound job, one free from oversimplification or the sensational effects in which so many modern transcriptions indulge. Mr. Bloomfield tells us that he tried to instrumentate as he believes Bach would have done had he had a modern orchestra at his disposal”. He closed his review with the words “The score sounded clearly and well”.

His first conducting experience was with the New York Little Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Chamber Music Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 on December 21, 1945. He was chosen from 100 applicants to serve as an apprentice conductor to George Szell
George Szell
George Szell , originally György Széll, György Endre Szél, or Georg Szell, was a Hungarian-born American conductor and composer...

 at the Cleveland Orchestra
Cleveland Orchestra
The Cleveland Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Cleveland, Ohio. It is one of the five American orchestras informally referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1918, the orchestra plays most of its concerts at Severance Hall...

 for 1946-1947. In 1946, he conducted what then was believed to be the premiere of Charles Ives
Charles Ives
Charles Edward Ives was an American modernist composer. He is one of the first American composers of international renown, though Ives' music was largely ignored during his life, and many of his works went unperformed for many years. Over time, Ives came to be regarded as an "American Original"...

 Central Park in the Dark
Central Park in the Dark
Central Park in the Dark is a music composition by Charles Ives for chamber orchestra. It was composed in 1906 and has been paired with The Unanswered Question as part of “Two Contemplations” and Hallowe’en and The Pond in “Three Outdoor Scenes.”...

. This was in New York City with a student chamber orchestra from the Juilliard School at an all-Ives concert held at the McMillin Theatre at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

. (Ives himself recalled an earlier performance – 1906 or 1907). Bloomfield was also the off-stage conductor for the premiere Ives’ The Unanswered Question
The Unanswered Question
The Unanswered Question is a work by American composer Charles Ives. It was originally the first of "Two Contemplations" composed in 1906, paired with another piece called Central Park in the Dark. As with many of Ives' works, it was largely unknown until much later in his life, being first...

 at the same concert.

In 1947 he organized the Cleveland Little Symphony Orchestra which he directed until 1952. He was a finalist in the Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy was a Hungarian-born conductor and violinist.-Early life:Born Jenő Blau in Budapest, Hungary, Ormandy began studying violin at the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music at the age of five...

 contest in November 1948. In 1949, he organized the Civic Opera Workshop of Cleveland. At this time he was also the piano accompanist for Licia Albanese
Licia Albanese
Licia Albanese is an Italian-born American operatic soprano. Noted especially for her portrayals of the lyric heroines of Verdi and Puccini, Albanese was a leading artist with the Metropolitan Opera of New York from 1940 to 1966...

 and on the staff of the Tanglewood Music Center
Tanglewood Music Center
The Tanglewood Music Center is an annual summer music academy in Lenox, Massachusetts, United States, in which emerging professional musicians participate in performances, master classes and workshops designed to provide an intense training and networking experience...


In 1952 he traveled to Europe to conduct, living in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. He conducted the Palermo Massimo Theatre Orchestra in October, 1952. He led his first concert in Vienna in November, 1952 with the Vienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera
The Vienna State Opera is an opera house – and opera company – with a history dating back to the mid-19th century. It is located in the centre of Vienna, Austria. It was originally called the Vienna Court Opera . In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy by the First Austrian...

 Orchestra in the Konzerthaus, Vienna
Konzerthaus, Vienna
The Konzerthaus in Vienna was opened 1913. It is situated in the third district just at the edge of the first district in Vienna. Since it was founded it has always tried to emphasise both tradition and innovative musical styles.In 1890 the first ideas for a Haus für Musikfeste came about...


Although he was engaged to Audrey Kupperstein in January 1947, he married Margery W. Bloomfield in 1953.

Bloomfield was the conductor of the Oregon Symphony
Oregon Symphony
The Oregon Symphony is an American orchestra based in Portland, Oregon. Founded as the Portland Symphony Society in 1896, it is the sixth oldest orchestra in the United States, and oldest in the Western United States...

 1955-1959 (he was one of the guest conductors for the orchestra in the 1954-1955 season). In four seasons in Portland, he introduced 62 works new to the orchestra audience. Prominent artists he invited to Portland included the pianists Artur Rubinstein and Rudolf Serkin
Rudolf Serkin
Rudolf Serkin , was a Bohemian-born pianist.-Life and early career:Serkin was born in Eger, Bohemia, Austro-Hungarian Empire to a Russian-Jewish family....

, sopranos Birgit Nilsson
Birgit Nilsson
right|thumb|Nilsson in 1948.Birgit Nilsson was a celebrated Swedish dramatic soprano who specialized in operatic and symphonic works...

 and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, DBE was a German-born Austrian/British soprano opera singer and recitalist. She was among the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century, much admired for her performances of Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, and Wolf.-Early life:Olga Maria Elisabeth Friederike...

, and violinist Isaac Stern
Isaac Stern
Isaac Stern was a Ukrainian-born violinist. He was renowned for his recordings and for discovering new musical talent.-Biography:Isaac Stern was born into a Jewish family in Kremenets, Ukraine. He was fourteen months old when his family moved to San Francisco...

. The musicians considered him a strict conductor who was detail oriented. A new violist in the orchestra, Peggy Swafford, said this about the conductor who was her first: “I was a bit intimidated. He was meticulous, and he had every score memorized. But it was a joy. He had wonderful eyes, piercing, and you knew by the look that things were going well or not.

He was appointed conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is an American orchestra based in the city of Rochester, Monroe County, New York. Its primary concert venue is the Eastman Theatre at the Eastman School of Music....

 on March 18, 1958. He served there for the 1959-1963 seasons. One of the works he premiered with that orchestra was Bernard Rogers “Variations on a Mussorgsky Song”, which was also recorded and released by Composers Recordings as CRI 153. He also conducted the Rochester Philharmonic for Everest Records
Everest Records
Everest Records was a stereophonic record label based in Bayside, Long Island started by Harry D. Belock and Bert Whyte in May 1958. It was devoted mainly to classical music.-History:...

 including Sibelius
Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer of the later Romantic period whose music played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity. His mastery of the orchestra has been described as "prodigious."...

Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 5 (Sibelius)
Symphony No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 82 is a major work for orchestra in three movements by Jean Sibelius.-History:Sibelius was commissioned to write this symphony by the Finnish government in honor of his 50th birthday, which had been declared a national holiday. The symphony was originally...

 and Finlandia
Finlandia is a symphonic poem by Jean Sibelius.Finlandia may also refer to:* Finlandia Hymn, a section of the Sibelius symphonic poem Finlandia* Finlandia University, a private university located in Hancock, Michigan, USA...

 on SDBR 3068 and a disc of Ravel and Debussy selections on SDBR 3060. He also conducted for MGM Records
MGM Records
MGM Records was a record label started by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio in 1946, for the purpose of releasing soundtrack albums of their musical films. Later it became a pop label, lasting into the 1970s...

. Bloomfield had a difficult time in Rochester, managing to alienate many of the musicians, staff, and other members of the musical community during his time there.

In December 1961 he conducted for the first Dimitri Mitropoulos Music Competition in New York, serving as a last minute substitute for Josef Krips
Josef Krips
Josef Alois Krips was an Austrian conductor and violinist.-Biography:Krips was born in Vienna and went on to become a pupil of Eusebius Mandyczewski and Felix Weingartner. From 1921 to 1924, he served as Weingartner's assistant at the Vienna Volksoper and as répétiteur and chorus master...

. New York Times critic Harold C. Schonberg
Harold C. Schonberg
Harold Charles Schonberg was an American music critic and journalist, most notably for The New York Times. He was the first music critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism...

 praised him for handling “his young soloists flawlessly, working closely with them and seeing to it that their tempos and phrasings were accurately followed. It was a noble job”. He served as a judge for the Leventritt Prize in May 1962 and also for the first U.S. based international conducting competition, held in New York in March 1963. This was the second Mitropoulos competition (the first being for pianists). An Oregon Symphony conductor-to-be was one of the entrants here – James DePreist
James DePreist
James Anderson DePreist is an American conductor. One of the few African American conductors on the world stage, he is currently the director of conducting and orchestral studies at the Juilliard School and laureate music director of the Oregon Symphony.-Biography:DePreist was born in Philadelphia...


Bloomfield resigned from his position in Rochester amid acrimonious circumstances, claiming that "everyone was against him." In May 1964 he signed a three year contract to become the conductor of the Hamburg State Opera
Hamburg State Opera
The Hamburg State Opera is one of the leading opera companies in Germany.Opera in Hamburg dates back to 2 January 1678 when the "Opern-Theatrum" was inaugurated with a performance of a biblical Singspiel by Johann Theile...

 1964-1966, and he became the general music director of the Frankfort State Opera also for three years - 1966-1968. He guest conducted in Europe and also led the Berliner Symphoniker (West Berlin) 1975-1983.

The Bloomfield retired on the Oregon coast
Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast is a region of the U.S. state of Oregon. It runs generally north-south along the Pacific Ocean, forming the western border of the state; the region is bounded to the east by the Oregon Coast Range. The Oregon Coast stretches approximately from the Columbia River in the north to...

 in 1990. He hosted a weekly classical music radio program on Astoria
Astoria, Oregon
Astoria is the county seat of Clatsop County, Oregon, United States. Situated near the mouth of the Columbia River, the city was named after the American investor John Jacob Astor. His American Fur Company founded Fort Astoria at the site in 1811...

KMUN is a National Public Radio member radio station in Astoria, Oregon....

. Bloomfield’s final conducting engagement was with the Oregon Symphony in 1996, at a concert during the orchestra’s centennial season. He died in of a heart attack in Warrenton, Oregon
Warrenton, Oregon
Warrenton is a city in Clatsop County, Oregon, United States. The city is named for D.K. Warren, an early settler. The population was 4,096 at the 2000 census.- History :...

. He was survived by his wife and their five children (Louise, Katherine, Charles, Margaret, and Joan). His wife said that although he conducted many modern works, his favorite composers were Beethoven and Mozart.

Writings by Theodore Bloomfield

  • ”In Search of Mahler's Tenth: The Four Performing Versions as Seen by a Conductor”, The Musical Quarterly
    The Musical Quarterly
    The Musical Quarterly is the oldest academic journal on music in America. Originally established in 1915 by Oscar Sonneck, the journal was edited by Sonneck until his death in 1928...

    , Vol. 74, No. 2 (1990), pp. 175-196
  • ”Two Undetected Misprints in Mahler's 'Das Lied von der Erde'”, The Musical Times
    The Musical Times
    The Musical Times is an academic journal of classical music edited and produced in the United Kingdom. It is currently the oldest such journal that is still publishing in the UK, having been published continuously since 1844. It was published as The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular until...

    , Vol. 130, No. 1755 (May, 1989), pp. 266-267
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