Thomas Schippers was a talented American conductors and a particular champion of the music of Samuel Barber. He played at a public piano recital at the age of six and was a church organist when he was 14. He continued his piano studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (1944-1945). He also studied privately with Olga Samaroff (1946-1947). He went on to Yale University, where he had some lessons in composition with Paul Hindemith.
In 1948 he took second prize in the Philadelphia Orchestra's young conductor's contest. He took a job as organist of the Greenwich Village Presbyterian Church in New York. He and group of other young musicians formed a group called the Lemonade Opera Company, which he conducted for several years.
Schippers began conducting Menotti's opera The Consul on Broadway shortly after its 1950 premiere.
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