Remembering Vincent La Selva, American Conductor, and Teacher: Madeline’s Monthly Musical Tips Blog/Article for January 2018

Our New Year’s blog and radio show celebrates the extraordinary life and work of Maestro Vincent La Selva, award winning Opera and Orchestra Conductor and teacher for over 45 years at the Juilliard School.

Included is a news video on a gifted high school senior, Trumpeter Potter Anderson.

Our article of the month is “ Driving And Texting A Bad Mix” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

Radio Show Feature Question for January 2018:

Our show is a Memorial Tribute to Internationally Celebrated American Conductor, Maestro Vincent La Selva, conductor of symphonic and opera music and teacher. What are the highlights of Maestro La Selva’s extraordinary career and what is his legacy?

Maestro Vincent La Selva, was born in Cleveland, Ohio on Sep. 17, 1929. His parents, Vitantonio and Anna Lena Floro La Selva, were Italian immigrants. He began playing the trumpet at 8 and Harry James was his idol. At 12, he conducted student productions and at 16 he quit school to perform and travel with a swing band. “When the band folded, his father demanded that he finish school, and Vincent complied: The conductor of his high school school orchestra suggested that he apply to Juilliard. He was accepted at 18.”

At the Juilliard School he received his Bachelor’s degree and went to serve in the United States Army for three years conducting “the First Army Band while at Fort Jay on Governor’s Island.”

In 1954 Maestro La Selva founded “the all volunteer Xavier Symphony Society” offering “free symphonic concerts and opera at St. Francis Xavier High School on West 16 Street”.

Maestro La Selva began conducting full time at New York City Opera in 1965 and “was appointed Music Director of the Greater Trenton Symphony” in 1966 and “conducted the New Jersey Symphony, the Symphony of the Air, the Juilliard Symphony, Brno State Philharmonic in the Czech Republic and the Bern Symphony in Switzerland”.

Maestro La Selva began teaching classes in symphonic and Opera conducting at the Juilliard School in Lincoln Center, NY in 1969 and taught for 45 years.

As a student at the Juilliard School I first met Maestro La Selva while sitting in the viola section of his orchestra; New York Grand Opera. Maestro La Selva was an extraordinary conductor with a clear and precise beat conducting with energy the composer’s passion for the music. He had a positive attitude and encouraged and inspired his orchestra members and his opera singers, to want to do their very best work for him.

I then chose to study conducting with him at Juilliard in 1981. In one class we were working on Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Maestro would demonstrate how to conduct the difficult opening with a pianist, playing the orchestra reduction, and then have each of us in the class try the passage. When something wasn’t right he would come over and put his arm over yours to have you feel the motion of the right hand with the conducting baton. I still feel that motion and the powerful and clarity behind it. Maestro always had a positive attitude and inspired and motivated us to do our best work for him. We eagerly looked forward to coming to Maestro’s classes and enjoyed preparing for his class.

Maestro La Selva conducted orchestras and Opera companies throughout the United States, the Dominican Republic, Czechoslovakia, and Switzerland for over 60 years.

Reviewers wrote: “Maestro La Selva earned special renown for conducting symphonic scores with directness, lyricism, and great passion.”

In 1973 Maestro La Selva founded “the New York Grand Opera Company and was the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. His opera company “was unique in the world for presenting fully-staged grand opera productions that were free to the public.”

Maestro means teacher and Maestro La Selva founded NY Grand Opera to give many talent opera singers, musicians, and conductors the opportunity to nurture their talents, many of whom went on to successful careers.

“Beginning in 1974, Maestro La Selva chose New York’s Central Park and outlying boroughs for his grand opera productions, which, over the years, have been attended by a total of more than three million people.”

On a summer’s night 10,000 -15,000 people attended each of his opera performances in New York’s Central Park. Maestro La Selva shared his passion for symphonic and opera music with the public in New York City for over 55 years educating over 3 million people to the power and beauty of Classical music.

Maestro La Selva spoke about his conducting in 1986 and said, “You must know singing, you must know the way the voice works, what the libretto means, and how the drama is paced. I sing the music to myself, and in my imagination, I believe I understand what the notes mean and what their pacing should be. If not, I will keep working with them until I do.”

“You know,” he added, “the word maestro means teacher, and by the time I stand up on the podium, I want to have something to teach.”

At New York Grand Opera one of his “most ambitious projects ever with the chronological presentation from 1994 onwards of all of Verdi’s operas, beginning with “Oberto” (composed in 1839) and ending with “Falstaff”. The finale of the series was the “Requiem Mass” performed at Carnegie Hall on the 100th anniversary of Verdi’s death in 2001.”

In 1995 the President of Italy knighted La Selva as a “Cavaliere” in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, for his performances of all the Giuseppe Verdi works. Maestro La Selva was the recipient of the “Handel Medallion”, in 1994 for his contributions to the cultural life of New York City, and received confirmation of a world record after performing all of Verdi’s works in chronological order.”

Maestro La Selva conducted the following well-known soloists and singers: Leonard Rose, Peter Serkin, Zinka Milanov, Rudolf Firkusny, Murray Perahia, and Ruggiero Ricci. At the Opera Company of Boston in performances of “La Bohème” with Placido Domingo and Renata Tebaldi and with many “regional companies with casts including Licia Albanese, Franco Corelli, Mirella Freni, Sherrill Milnes, and Samuel Ramey.”

On October 2001 Maestro La Selva received the “Governor’s Award for Excellence ” and the Bern Symphony in Switzerland recorded a prize winning CD called Verdi: Complete Overtures. Classical music station WQXR called Maestro’s disk the “Hot Pick of the Week” and said, “La Selva clearly owns this repertoire” and regards him as “the greatest conductor of Verdi in the world today.”

Newsweek said, La Selva is “One of the most exciting interpreters now before the public..a conductor the Toscanini tradition.”

NY Grand Opera performed Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9” at the Isaac Stern Auditorium with soloists on November 2006.

Maestro La Selva won our Radio Show’s 2013 Teacher of the Year Award and said “I pass on to my students the composers passion for the music they wrote and have them try to completely understand the composer’s intention.”

American Conductor Vincent La Selva’s brilliant light was extinguished on October 9th, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was 88years old. Maestro Vincent La Selva was an extraordinary conductor, inspiring and motivating teacher, musician, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. His legacy will live on through the conductors, Opera singers, and musicians he has trained.

To read Maestro Vincent La Selva’s blog: Radio Show 2013 Teacher of the Year – June 2013:

To hear Maestro La Selva Radio Shows 2013 Teacher of the Year Award: Feature Question for June 2013: Maestro La Selva, can you share with us your approach for teaching and motivating your students?

To read Maestro Vincent La Selva’s July 2009 Blog:

To hear Maestro Vincent La Selva’s July 2009 Radio Show: Feature Question: Maestro La Selva what have your New York Grand Opera performances in New York’s Central Park meant to you and what is the hardest part of presenting these fully staged operas?

To purchase Verdi: Complete Opera Overtures: Vincent La Selva Conducting: And Texting A Bad Mix  by Madeline Frank,Ph.D., DTM

Driving and texting is a bad mix. Save a life maybe your own! by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

I was driving my brand new 50 year Anniversary Ruby Red Mustang with my husband in the passenger seat on a bright clear sunny day with temperatures in the 40’s on April 18, 2015. We were waiting patiently at a yield sign for the traffic to clear when we felt a heavy jolt on our seats. The SUV behind us had plowed into the back seat of our new Mustang. My husband immediately called the police. I quickly got out of the Mustang and walked behind my mustang before the driver backed up and left the scene of the accident. I looked at the driver, a young woman around 21, and noticed she was texting!

I quickly took a picture of the back of my new Mustang which had her license plate embedded in the bumper of my car. Her SUV was not damaged other than her missing license plate stuck in the back of my formerly new now damaged Mustang. The back of it looked like a folded accordion. At least no one was hurt.

The police and fire department were there within 10 minutes of the accident. We showed the policeman her license embedded in our Mustang.The policeman removed it from the back of the Mustang with great force handing it back to the SUV driver, instead of impounding the evidence!

The young woman a few minutes later, told me how sorry she was about damaging my new Mustang. She said, “I was on my way to College to take my final exam as I have been sick. My final was postponed until today!”

The young woman’s mother showed up and didn’t want her daughter to sign the police report admitting her guilt.

My damaged new Mustang was driven to the dealership and then to the local repair shop.

Meanwhile the young woman who ran through my new Mustang with her SUV while texting had her insurance company representative call me. She said, “It was your fault and the police do not count as witnesses. Our insurance company will not pay the claim!”

I told her insurance agent I had a passenger in my car who was a witness as to what her client had done to my new 50th Anniversary Mustang and her clients license was imbedded into the back of my car. I had taken a picture to prove it!”

After her call, I called my insurance agent and told him what she had said and asked him to handle it!

It took 6 months and over $12,000 to repair my 50th Anniversary Mustang to look like new! The fire department sent me a bill for $200 and the repair shop gave me a bill for $200 after the insurance was paid.

My insurance company paid the claim and eventually forced her insurance company to reimburse them for their client’s damage to my Mustang.

Most people are conditioned to respond immediately to the needs, alerts, and messages of other people. Like a lab rat addicted to drugs, our brains have been rewired to respond.

In the United States, distracted drivers cause 1 out of 4 traffic accidents. That’s 1.6 million crashes every year causing 330,000 injuries and deaths each year.

Is your life worth not being able to wait a few minutes to respond to the ping or alert you’ve just received?

One thing I’ve found useful is to switch my cell phone in the “off” position, and place it out of reach.

If you need your phone for navigation, disable the alerts from all apps other than your map app. They’ll be there when you arrive at your destination. More importantly… you will arrive at your destination in one piece!

If you need a speaker contact Madeline at:

“High School Student Taking Classical Music to New Heights” (Dec. 1, 2017) by Kellye Lynn from ABC7. In Potomac, Md. The Manassas Symphony Orchestra will play a family concert on Saturday with Chantilly High School Senior , Potter Anderson, playing solo Trumpet with the orchestra.He is a talented young man who began playing at 8 years of age electric guitar and in the 7th grade began to study the trumpet and later began to compose. To watch the video go to:


“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:


Barnes and Noble(Nook)


“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.


Barnes and Noble(Nook)


Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math”

Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World” . This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. ”Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below:

Download Your Copy Today!

Amazon | iTunes | CD Baby

Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is available through amazon. To order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget”  as an e-book on Kindle click on the following link:

Wishing you and your family a Happy and Health New Year from your Non-Invasive Medicine…Music Expert, Madeline


For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker and concert artist. She has found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2018 Madeline Frank.


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