James DePreist, the conductor and educator who had been artistic advisor for Pasadena Symphony and Pops since 2010, died on Friday at 76.
DePreist died at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., of complications from a heart attack he suffered last spring.
In 2005, DePreist received America's highest artistic honor, the National Medal of Arts, from President George W. Bush. He was a nephew of the great contralto Marian Anderson.
DePreist, who contracted polio in 1962, conducted from a wheelchair. He was active on both coasts, having led the Oregon Symphony for 23 years and serving as director of conducting and orchestral studies at the Juilliard School in New York City.
DePreist was hired by the Pasadena Symphony in June 2010 as the venerable orchestra was attempting to dig itself out of financial difficulties. At the time the orchestra had severed ties with its longtime conductor Jorge Mester. DePreist did some conducting for Pasadena as well as serving in an advisory capacity.