From the New York Philharmonic comes word of the death of Carlos Moseley, whose remarkable career with the orchestra lasted from 1955 to 1985. "Beginning as Director of Press and Public Relations," the announcement says, "he rose to become Managing Director (a post now referred to as Executive Director), President, and Chairman of the Board." Moseley presided over the Bernstein-Boulez era at the Philharmonic, during which the orchestra cut an uncommonly bold and unpredictable profile. He was an elegant, courtly man, whose South Carolina accent probably fooled more than a few Easterners into underestimating his intelligence and savoir faire. He was, above all, deeply musical, a pianist of considerable skill; while studying at the Berkshire Music Center (now Tanglewood), he played Brahms's fiendishly difficult Second Piano Concerto, under the direction of the young Bernstein.
I interviewed Moseley in 2002 — not about his career at the Philharmonic, although we inevitably touched on those years, but about his work for the American military government in Germany in 1948 and 1949, supervising cultural "reorientation" in the Bavarian sector. I recount some of his stories in The Rest Is Noise: his early advocacy of Bernstein, who made a hugely successful German début in 1948; his visit to Bayreuth and his eerie meeting with Winifred Wagner; and his role in negotiating Wieland and Wolfgang Wagner's takeover of the festival. (There's much more material in David Monod's 2005 book Settling Scores.) Above is a letter that I found at the National Archives: the Wagner brothers are inviting Moseley to attend a 1949 concert at the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth. The archives hold further evidence of Moseley's pragmatic labors on behalf of German music — most notably, perhaps, his unstinting support for Karl Amadeus Hartmann's Musica Viva series in Munich. In 1948, he arranged for 350 Musica Viva tickets to be bought by the occupying authority and then given away to young German music students. The memos relating to Musica Viva are contained in an old gray folder stamped "NSDAP" — the Nazi Party. I assume that Moseley had found a stash of Nazi stationery and, with a fine sense of irony, repurposed it to different ends. Either that, or, canny administrator that he was, he chose to save a little money on office expenses.
Moseley died today at his home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, at the grand age of ninety-eight.
Update: The Times obituary.