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Anthony Antolini

Anthony Antolini

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Anthony Antolini was born and raised in New York City. The grandson of the Italian pianist Egle Massai Antolini, he was exposed to classical music from an early age. During high school his mentor was conductor and organist Thomas Dunn at the Church of the Incarnation. Antolini went on to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he studied music history with Frederic Earle Thornlay Tillotson and organ, conducting and music theory with Robert Beckwith, a former student of Robert Shaw.

After completing his bachelor of arts degree with a major in music and a minor in Russian, Antolini went to Stanford University where he completed two master’s degrees – one in Russian and the other in music. He began teaching Russian, German and music at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz County, California in 1968 and remained on the faculty there until 1991. While teaching at Cabrillo College, Antolini completed a Ph.D. at Stanford University in Slavic Studies in 1975. The following year he was awarded an IREX Fellowship to study at Moscow State University in the USSR. In 1991 he was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to teach music at the Gnessin Institute in Moscow. This was interrupted by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the same year.

Antolini’s conducting teachers have included Harold C. Schmidt, Charlene Archibeque, Helmuth Rilling and Vladimir Minin.

In 1984 Antolini’s research in the choral works of Sergei Rachmaninoff led him to St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, where he found photocopies of the part books of Rachmaninoff’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (1910). Subsequently he located a microfilm of the conductor’s full score of the work that enabled him to produce the first bilingual edition of Rachmaninoff’s masterpiece (published by Galaxy, a division of ECS Publishing). In order to perform the newly edited work Antolini formed the Cabrillo Slavonic Chorus and toured the West and East Coasts of the United States in 1986. One of the earliest performances was recorded by Voice of America and subsequently broadcast to the Soviet Union following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1987. As a result, Antolini and his American choristers were invited to tour the western USSR in the winter of 1987-88 with performances of the Liturgy. A documentary television program entitled Rediscovering Rachmaninoff was made of this tour and won a Silver Apple Award for best classical music documentary program in 1990.

In 1992 Antolini joined the music faculty of Bowdoin College, where he has taught music theory and conducts the Bowdoin Chorus and the Rachmaninoff Choir. In addition, he serves as Artistic Director of Down East Singers, based in Rockport, Maine, and the Lincoln Festival Chorus, based in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. He is also on the faculty of the New England Suzuki Institute at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine.

The Rachmaninoff Choir’s recording of The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom with bass soloist Andre Papkov received critical acclaim in The American Record Guide. The Choir, composed of singers from many areas of New England, has toured Siberia and Western Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. Annual tours include Eastern Orthodox choral repertoire in the New England states and occasionally in Canada, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Antolini has been a featured speaker at national and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the Mentoring Institute at the University of New Mexico and guest speaker for the Camden Conference in Maine. His writings have appeared in The Choral Journal and The American Organist.

Antolini is music director at the Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist in Thomaston, Maine, and a member of St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church in Peabody, Massachusetts.


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