Obituary: Former Jacksonville Symphony music director Willis Page, 94

Posted on: January 11, 2013

In Friday’s (1/11) Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville), Dan Scanlan writes, “A man known as ‘The Beloved Maestro’ is dead at 94. Willis Page, music director of the Jacksonville Symphony from 1971 to 1983 and the founding conductor of the St. Johns River City Band, died Wednesday night of bone cancer, according to his family. … Mr. Page graduated from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., and became the principal bass player of the Boston Pops Orchestra and associate principal of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1940 to 1955. His musical journey was interrupted by World War II, where he won a Bronze Star as a military policeman and translator in Europe. Mr. Page conducted the Boston Symphony’s first stereo recordings in 1955, which led to his hiring as associate conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic. He went on to be music director of major symphony orchestras in Nashville, Tenn., and Des Moines, Iowa. In 1971 he was a Jacksonville Symphony guest conductor and was hired full time. Bruner Hazen said Mr. Page brought the audience back to the concerts with familiar works. And in May 1972, he led the orchestra to the Kennedy Center in Washington and Carnegie Hall in New York.”

Posted January 11, 2013