John Lester Interview, November 2, 1993


John Lester


Claire Rhein



Download Audio Interview (111.5 MB)

Download Transcript of John Lester Interview (370 KB)


John Lester recalls traveling between Texarcana, Texas, and Tucumcari, New Mexico, with his family in a covered wagon when he was six years old. Lester briefly describes going to Southwestern University at Georgetown, Texas, in 1918, majoring in English and music and minoring in French. Lester traveling to France in 1922, to study with singer Jean De Reszke, and to Italy in 1925 to study with singer Mario Sammarco. Lester recalls his decision to leave New York City and multiple successful careers in radio, recording, teaching, and singing, for a professorship at the University of Montana [UM]. He details his work as a professor, and how his UM students differed from those he taught in New York. Lester also explains his work in the Philippines working with talented young vocalists.


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Document Type

Oral History


Music; Opera; Opera singers; Vocalists; Radio talent; Oscar Seagal; Jean De Reszke; Mario Sammarco; John Crowder; University of Montana School of Music; University of Montana professors; Educators, Montana; Music educators, Montana; Otoniel Gonzaga; Music education, The Philippines

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

University of Montana History Oral History Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 305-001, 002

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

2 sound cassettes (2:00:00) analog + 1 transcript (22 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:25:33 minutes

Local Filename

OH_305_001_002.mp3; OH_305_001_002.pdf

John Lester Interview, November 2, 1993