Enrique Jorda, Former Director of San Francisco Symphony, Dies At 84
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Spanish-born music director Enrique Jorda, who conducted the San Francisco Symphony and many great orchestras around the world, has died, his family said Sunday. He was 84.
Jorda, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was music director of the San Francisco Symphony from 1954 to 1963, died in Brussels March 18 after a two-month illness caused by complications from a blood transfusion.
He had been music director of the Madrid Symphony Orchestra in Spain, the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra in South Africa and the Antwerp Philharmonic in Belgium, and had been guest conductor in many of the world’s greatest concert halls.
In San Francisco, he took special care to highlight the works of local composers. He also took classical music outside the concert hall _ to a local prison, for example. His openness to new musical influences led him to stage a classical jazz concert with pianist Dave Brubeck.
Jorda became a U.S. citizen in 1963. ``He admired the country and had hoped to go back there one day,″ said his widow, Audrey.
But Jorda continued to lead an itinerant life, spending most of his time in Europe and settling in Brussels.
Born in San Sebastian, Spain, he took up music at 5. He left the Basque region to study in Paris and refused to return to Spain during the Franco dictatorship after the Spanish Civil War.
But was forced to go back when the Nazis invaded Paris in 1940. Jorda then became music director of the self-administered and politically independent Madrid Symphony, Mrs. Jorda said.
``He absolutely refused to work for the Madrid Nacional orchestra,″ which was backed by Franco, she said.
After the war, he went to Cape Town, but left after six years because of his opposition to apartheid. ``He was very outspoken and insisted everyone be allowed to attend his concerts,″ she said.
Jorda was buried March 22. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Karin and Tessa.