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Günter Wand

Günter Wand

Günter Wand


Günter Wand (January 7, 1912 in Elberfeld, Germany – February 14, 2002 in Ulmiz near Bern, Switzerland) was a German orchestra conductor and composer. Wand studied in Wuppertal, Allenstein and Detmold. At the Cologne conservatory, he was a composition student with Philipp Jarnach and a piano student with Paul Baumgartner. He was a conducting pupil of Franz von Hoesslin in Munich, but was otherwise largely self-taught as a conductor. Career: Wand started his career in Cologne Read more on Last.fm
Günter Wand (January 7, 1912 in Elberfeld, Germany – February 14, 2002 in Ulmiz near Bern, Switzerland) was a German orchestra conductor and composer. Wand studied in Wuppertal, Allenstein and Detmold. At the Cologne conservatory, he was a composition student with Philipp Jarnach and a piano student with Paul Baumgartner. He was a conducting pupil of Franz von Hoesslin in Munich, but was otherwise largely self-taught as a conductor. Career: Wand started his career in Cologne, where he was to stay for several decades, as a conductor of the Cologne Opera in 1939. After World War II his position in Cologne was consolidated as he became Generalmusikdirektor in charge of both the opera and the Gürzenich Orchestra, which he conducted until 1974. In 1948, he also started teaching conducting at a music school in Cologne.

From the early 1950s he guest-conducted a number of orchestras, making his London debut in 1951 with the London Symphony Orchestra. Other orchestras who invited him included the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. After several recordings of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven with the Gürzenich for a French subscription collection in the mid 1950s, he made no studio recordings for about three decades with the exception of an appearance with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on Decca Records, accompanying Wilhelm Backhaus in Robert Schumann's Piano Concerto (his only recording with that orchestra). In the 1970s he recorded the complete symphonies of Franz Schubert and Anton Bruckner with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne. In 1982, Wand became chief conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra. With the latter ensemble, he was able to record the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms as well as works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Schubert and Schumann.

He also remade Bruckner's symphonies 3 to 9. In January 1982, Wand conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the first time, and was appointed principal guest conductor of the orchestra that same year. Wand was noted for demanding considerable rehearsal time, a minimum of 5 to 8 rehearsals, for his London concerts. For his first appearance with a US orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1989, he asked for and received 11 hours of rehearsal time. Wand subsequently recorded the Brahms Symphony No.

1, part of that first U.S. program, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The highlights of Wand's late career were his annual guest appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, which he conducted in Schubert's "Unfinished" and "Great" symphonies (1995) and Bruckner's Fifth (1996), Fourth (1998), Ninth (1998), Seventh (1999) and Eighth (2001) symphonies. Repertoire: In his late years, Wand restricted his repertoire almost exclusively to the symphonies of Anton Bruckner (which he had never conducted until he was over 60), Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart. Earlier in his career, however, he was a devoted interpreter of the contemporary music of such composers as Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Olivier Messiaen, Frank Martin, György Ligeti, and Edgard Varèse. Compositions: Wand also composed music, mostly songs with orchestral accompaniment and music for ballet. One composition was his concertino "Odi et amo", for soprano and chamber orchestra, which Wand wrote for his wife, the soprano Anita Westhoff, who survived him. Awards: He was awarded the German Record Award, the German Record Critic's Prize, the Echo Award, the Diapason d'Or and the Hans von Bülow Medal.

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