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Leo Kucinski's Metronome

Date: c. 1930


Description: This trademark Seth Thomas “Metronome de Maelzel” (commonly known simply as a metronome) was once used by the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra (also called just the Sioux City Symphony) and owned by its conductor, Sioux City’s “Mr. Music,” Leo Kucinski. Born in Warsaw in 1904, Kucinski was already an accomplished violinist when he came to America. He came to Sioux City on a concert series at Morningside College, and he was offered a job as a music instructor. He came into contact with the Morningside College Symphony, directed by George Hubbard. He played as a violinist in the symphony until 1925, when Hubbard left the city and Kucinski stepped up as the conductor. He wanted to expand membership to include not only Sioux City members, but members from all over Siouxland and beyond. The symphony was renamed to the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, with members from northwest Iowa, northeast Nebraska, and southeast South Dakota. Kucinski also inherited the direction of the Monahan Post Band in 1929, and under his baton both groups received commendable recognition.


The Sioux City Symphony Orchestra was fully incorporated in 1946, and Leo Kucinski stood as its director for more than fifty years. Kucinski retired at the age of 72, and two years later direction of the Sioux City Symphony passed to Thomas Lewis in 1979. Lewis continued Kucinski’s standards of greatness for the symphony, and the orchestra came through, playing throughout the state and on several different National Public Radio concerts and Iowa Public Television concerts. In 1995 Stephen Rogers Radcliffe became the director, and a short three years later Kucinski passed away. But the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra continues to uphold his legacy by performing to his high standard. Today the symphony plays regular concerts at the newly restored Orpheum Theatre under director Ryan Haskins, with membership from over a 90 mile radius of Sioux City.


Donor: Irene Kucinski

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