In 1932, he became the conductor at the Théâtre du Capitole of Toulouse, conducting primarily the orchestra concerts. In 1935 he was first conductor of the Opéra National de Lyon where he became the musical director in 1942. During World War II he led the Vichy summer concerts, which may have led to his short-term blacklisting by the musicians' union at Bordeaux. In 1947, he became the musical director at the Opéra-Comique where he conducted 40 works between 1947-1953. He became a French citizen in 1940.
In 1949, he replaced Charles Munch as principal conductor of the Paris Conservatory Orchestra, which post he held until 1960. His contract required him to conduct half of the orchestra's concerts each season. He conducted a famous performance of Wagner's opera Tannhäuser at the Bayreuth Festival in 1955 and also worked with the Berlin Philharmonic as a guest conductor. Cluytens was well-versed in the German repertoire, and also noted for authoritative interpretations of Ravel and other modern French composers. A prolific recording artist, Cluytens signed a contract with the French branch of EMI Pathé-Marconi in 1946.
He recorded an extensive series of complete French operas with the forces of the Opéra-Comique and the Opéra National de Paris. He also set down a discography of orchestral recordings of the French masters and a complete cycle of Beethoven's symphonies, the latter with the Berlin Philharmonic, in 1957-1960. Most of his recordings have been re-issued on CD. His premature death at the age of 62 occurred as he had ceased being known primarily as a conductor of the French classics and was becoming increasingly recognized as an interpreter of the standard German/Austrian repertoire. During the mid 1950s he began conducting at the annual Bayreuth Festival, leading Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and other works.
This was a remarkable honor at the time for a non-German conductor. Also during the late 1950s, EMI commissioned Cluytens to record all nine Beethoven symphonies with the Berlin Philharmonic, joining the cycles by Herbert von Karajan and Otto Klemperer in their catalog. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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