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May 18, 1921: New York Philharmonic performs at the Duluth Armory

On this day in Duluth in 1921, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra performed at the Duluth Armory along London Road. The Duluth News-Tribune reported that the performance, called the “musical treat of the season,” received over five minutes of continued applause after its finale and the crowd repeatedly called back conductor Josef Stransky to acknowledge the ovation. Stransky, a composer, conductor and art collector from Czechoslovakia, conducted the New York Philharmonic from 1911 to 1923, replacing Gustav Mahler on Mahler’s death. While Stransky received praise for his work with the philharmonic, he had critics as well—most of them Mahler scholars. One critic called him a “total musical incompetent” while another said he was a “conscientious but uninspiring” leader. A third wrote that “Stransky maintained himself for so long, not so much by his musical abilities as by his social charm and personal cleverness.” Many other national and international performers appeared at the Armory over the years, and you can find a list of them, as well as the building’s history, here.

Josef Stransky. (Image; Public Domain)