Joseph H. Conlin, In Memoriam (1928-2007)

Impresario, Past MCNY President


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Joseph H. Conlin, 79, New York impresario, died on Monday, March 5, 2007, in West Palm Beach, FL, while still serving as the President of the Musicians Club of New York. Involved for decades in the Musicians Club of New York's concerts and competitions, as president he is credited with reinstituing a regular concert series, the Serge & Olga Koussevitzky Young Artist Awards, and the Koussevitzky International Recording Awards. But his accomplishments went far beyond the Club's borders:

New York Times obituary:
A kindly, imposing man of great wit, charm, and generosity -and an excellent ballroom dancer who possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of opera and piano repertoire -he suffered an aneurism behind the right knee in May of 2002, which led simultaneously to an amputation and kidney dialysis. With heroic cheerfulness, he continued to support his friends and clients from his electric wheelchair, building up his concert management and travel agency as a legacy for tenor and composer Brian Hunter, his partner for the last 15 years. After graduation from Columbia University, several years at NBC, and a stint in the US Army, he worked for John R. Fitzgerald of Rye Beach, NH, the largest purveyor of novelties in the world. In the 1950s, he established Conlin Associates, which became one of America's premier concert-management firms, responsible for numerous contracts in the U.S. of such European artists as Carlo Bergonzi, Maria Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano, and Ferruccio Tagliavini. Among his list of high-level cultural events were the first American recital of Renata Tebaldi at the Old Met, the American Farewell Concert Tour of the 65-year-old Beniamino Gigli, and the 1955 sensational Carnegie Hall recital of Jussi Bjorling when other presenters were afraid of the great tenor's alcoholism. An expert judge of musical talent, Conlin adjudicated numerous piano and vocal competitions across the country. In the 1980s, he served as general manager of the Palm Beach Opera and executive director of the Chopin Foundation of the US, in Miami."

In Memory of JOSEPH H CONLIN, February 12 1928-March 5,2007 by Barbara (Miller) and Marko Lampas
Joseph was like a flame that we all gathered around for warmth and companionship as we listened to him spin his wonderful tales. I know all who were close to him considered themselves to be among his best friends and it is true-he had so many, each one with their own special personal attachment be it fifty years long or one year. We consider  them all our friends. 

He was my favorite dance partner ( a great dancer) and we glided across the ballroom floors many times through the years.

Marko knew him 10 years before I met him and they used to sing together on the street (I joined in later on), on long car trips, in Opera clubs and restaurants, on the stage and in his lovely living room. We visited Florida, the Auto Shows, talked about the best cars (LINCOLNS), and always ate the best chocolate and pastries among other delicious morsels.

He had a gift for gab in the most elegant manner, was a great debater and his stories about his dealings with the great singers, Gigli, Bjorling, Del Monaco, Tebaldi,, Bergonzi (you notice it’s heavy on the Tenor side) always kept us wide eyed in amazement.

He was generous with his friendship and his love and encouragement. What shall we do without him? We are left with an empty space in our hearts, but our memories will be ever full. Orator, Storyteller, Tenor , Pianist, Bon Vivant, “A Renaissance Man”, but above all: A  TRUE FRIEND.“IMPRESSARIO IMPECCABILE.”

Always in our hearts,
Marko & Barbara

 Joseph H. Conlin Memorial Concert, May 7, 2009, Keynote Speaker: Peter Goodrich, Vice President Worldwide Concert and Artist Activities, Steinway & Sons, Inc.

I am delighted to welcome everyone tonight on behalf of Steinway & Sons.  It is a privilege for us to provide Steinway Hall as the venue for the first Joseph H. Conlin Memorial Concert for the Musicians Club of New York.  

Joe Conlin was probably the best friend a performing artist could have.  He was immensely generous with his time and talent and personal resources and he touched the lives of countless singers and instrumentalists and certainly of everyone here this evening.  

I could speak at length about Joe, but with the ambitious program ahead I will keep these remarks very brief.  

When I think of Joe, as I often do, I picture in my mind his beaming face and his twinkling eyes.  He would be thrilled with this event and with the program that has been planned.  

Among his many great qualities, Joe was an eternal optimist.  As an example, he was forever updating us with his plans for the millions he would get when he won the lottery.  It was almost discouraging to hear Joe talk about winning the lottery, because you felt as though you didn’t really stand a chance.  Joe would win, and he would buy that fabulous penthouse apartment in the Pierre and that big Rolls Royce with the white sidewalls.  You just knew it would happen.

But the way I look at it, we all were the winners of that lottery, and our big prize was Joe Conlin.  Joe brought joy and adventure, fabulous stories, and beautiful music to us all, and through him our lives, and the lives of countless others, were brightened immeasurably.  

Let’s celebrate our friend with some wonderful music.  Thanks to all of you, but especially, Joe, thanks to you.