New York Times obituary at the end of March told the world of the death of a remarkable woman. Under the headline “Doris Hodgkins Monteux, Singer and Music Memoirist,” the short article describes her as the author of two books about music, a singer, the co-founder of the Domaine School for Conductors, and the widow of the great French conductor Pierre Monteux.

Here, surely, is a case where such facts mean little, and, taken together, tell no story at all. Her books on music, although entertaining, are trifling—one is a view of her husband from their poodle’s point of view. Her singing was an affair of limited scope that took place sixty years ago and more.

The obituary was on firmer ground in mentioning her role in L’École Monteux, as the conducting school was often known. But even here the mention pales beside the...


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