February 18, 2013

It is with great sorrow that I learned of the death of James DePreist [“Conductor broke race barriers in U.S. and foreign orchestras,” obituaries, Feb. 11]. I can remember, as a young boy and then a teen, accompanying my father to see this heroic man conduct both at DAR Constitution Hall and the Kennedy Center. Even a child could appreciate the courage it took for him to amble onstage with two crutches, a result of being afflicted with polio while in his 20s, his dark skin in such contrast to the white faces in the audience and the orchestra itself. Hoisting himself upon his conductor’s chair, he would take up the baton and weave such wonderful music. What a dynamic and authentic man he was. Thank you for the memory.

David Sherer, Chevy Chase