Remembering Eduardo Mata (1942 – 1995)

During 2020, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the life of former Music Director and Conductor Emeritus Eduardo Mata upon the 25th anniversary of his death. Mata served as Music Director of the DSO from 1977 through 1993. 

We asked DSO musicians, past and present, to share their favorite memories and works and collected them into a Spotify Playlist.

“Our recording of Bernstein’s On the Waterfront is absolutely one of my favorites.”
Ron Snider (Assistant Principal Percussion) 

“Eduardo recorded  Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with us. It is simply astounding in his interpretation; my favorite. He also conducted the score from memory in live performances.”
Mary Reynolds (Violin)

“His recording of Jongen Symphonie Concertante with Jean Guillou is spectacular, and is one of my favorite CDs in my collection.”
Steven Harlos (Keyboard)

​”Maestro Mata was a absolute master when recording a piece. I felt so lucky (being his last hire in 1992) that I got to be part of the recording of Saint-Sean’s “Organ” Symphony with Jean Guillou. I had been part of other orchestras recording sessions but I was so impressed with the incredible skill with which he guided the process and the result was always wonderful.
Valerie Dimond (Viola)

Mata and Valerie

“Dignity, poise, precision, clarity, majesty. Eduardo Mata brought forth these qualities to a degree I don’t believe I’ve encountered before or since among conductors.

“From the first time I witnessed him on the podium, where he led the Cleveland Orchestra through a ‘wheelhouse’ program for him which included works of Prokofiev and Revueltas, to the numerous insightful and authoritative performances I heard with him at the helm of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Mata led me inexorably into a career in classical music.

“Though I never performed under his baton, I’m grateful that, through the tours and recordings that Eduardo Mata and the Dallas Symphony brought to bear, I and so many other enlightened listeners now know the standards to which musical culture may strive. Maestro Mata was and is an awesome inspiration to me, and I’m very fortunate to have witnessed his artistry firsthand.”
Brian Jones (Principal Timpani, Dr. Eugene & Charlotte Bonelli Chair)

“Rhythm was his Forte!! He was also a very kind man and an amazing conductor.”
Paula Fleming (Bass)

“The DSO recorded Copland’s 3rd symphony in 1986, my second season.  It was a thrill to be involved, and Maestro Mata was the consummate professional – cool, organized, respectful.  He left us all too soon.”
Deborah Baron (Associate Principal Flute + Piccolo)

“I think he had a natural affinity for Spanish music. Our recording of the Three Cornered Hat (1991) could be described as definitive.”
Peter Grenier (Bassoon + Contrabassoon)

“Maestro Mata had an outstanding baton technique! There was never a moment when you were not right with his beat. His Rite of Spring, by Igor Stravinsky, was conducted with uncanny accuracy, and, despite its continual meter changes, he conducted it by memory. Once with another orchestra in Mexico City, I witnessed Mr. Mata, in concert, correctly re-cue a flautist who had entered a solo passage incorrectly. Cooly, he focused on her til she got back on correctly, continuing to conduct this master-piece flawlessly!”
Bruce Patti (Violin)

“Just after winning my audition here for Principal Percussion, I realized that I had the DSO’s recording of Daphnis and Chloe with Eduardo Mata on vinyl in my collection at home. Upon listening, I was immediately struck by how colorful and vibrant the sound he was getting from the orchestra. It is a masterful and exciting performance and it has been fun to chat with my colleague, Ron Snider, about his recollections from that recording session.”
George Nickson (Principal Percussion, Margie & William H. Seay Chair)