James DePreist, artistic advisor to the Pasadena Symphony and Pops and one of the few African American conductors to lead major orchestras in the United States and abroad, died Friday at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 76.
The cause was complications of a heart attack he had last spring, said his manager, Jason Bagdade.
DePreist overcame polio in his 20s to pursue a conducting career that took him to stages from Sweden to Japan over four decades. His longest and most distinguished tenure was with the Oregon Symphony, where he was music director from 1980 to 2003, a period when that orchestra gained national and international renown.
In 2010 he assumed the top...