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Karl Böhm

Karl Böhm

Karl Böhm


Karl August Leopold Böhm (August 28, 1894 – August 14, 1981) was an Austrian conductor. Born in Graz, Austria, Böhm studied law and earned a doctorate on this subject. He later studied music at the Graz Conservatory. On the recommendation of Karl Muck, Bruno Walter engaged him at Munich's Bavarian State Opera in 1921. Darmstadt (1927) and Hamburg (1931) were the next places he resided as a young conductor, before succeeding Fritz Busch as head of Dresden's Semper Opera in 1934. Read more on Last.fm
Karl August Leopold Böhm (August 28, 1894 – August 14, 1981) was an Austrian conductor. Born in Graz, Austria, Böhm studied law and earned a doctorate on this subject. He later studied music at the Graz Conservatory. On the recommendation of Karl Muck, Bruno Walter engaged him at Munich's Bavarian State Opera in 1921. Darmstadt (1927) and Hamburg (1931) were the next places he resided as a young conductor, before succeeding Fritz Busch as head of Dresden's Semper Opera in 1934.

He secured a top post at the Vienna State Opera in 1943, eventually becoming music director. Böhm's career prospered after the war, with his native country usually the focus of his work. The Vienna Philharmonic and the Salzburg Festival featured prominently. He additionally resumed ties in Dresden, at the Staatskapelle. In 1957, he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, conducting Don Giovanni, and quickly became one of the favorite conductors of the Rudolf Bing era, conducting, all told, 262 performances, including the house premieres of Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Frau ohne Schatten (which was the first major smash success in the new house at Lincoln Center), and many other major productions such as Fidelio for the Beethoven bicentennial, Die Zauberflöte, Tristan und Isolde (including the house debut performance of Birgit Nilsson in 1959), Otello, Der Rosenkavalier, Salome, Wozzeck, Elektra and others. He conducted at Bayreuth in 1966 and 1967, resulting in critically acclaimed recordings of the entire Ring cycle and also Tristan und Isolde. Late in life, he began a guest-conducting relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in a 1973 appearance with the LSO at the Salzburg Festival.[1] He was given the title of LSO President, which he held until his death. Perhaps his greatest contribution to music lay in bringing to life the operas of his close colleague Richard Strauss.

Böhm led the premieres of Strauss's late works Die schweigsame Frau (1935) and Daphne (1938), of which he is the dedicatee, recorded all of the major operas (often making cuts to the scores), and regularly revived Strauss's operas with strong casts during his tenures in Vienna and Dresden, as well as at the Salzburg Festival. Böhm was praised for his rhythmically robust interpretations of the operas and symphonies of Mozart, and in the 1960s he was entrusted with recording a full cycle of the symphonies with the Berlin Philharmonic. Böhm's brisk and plain way with Wagner won adherents, as did his readings of the symphonies of Brahms, Bruckner and Schubert. His 1971 recorded cycle of Beethoven's symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic likewise drew high regard. On a less common front, Böhm championed and made recordings of Alban Berg's operas Wozzeck and Lulu before they gained a position in the repertory. He received numerous honours, among them first Austrian Generalmusikdirektor in 1964.

He was widely feted on his 80th birthday, ten years later; his colleague Herbert von Karajan presented him with a clock to mark that occasion. Böhm died in Salzburg. Actor Karlheinz Böhm, the conductor's son, is known for his role as Ludwig van Beethoven in the Walt Disney film The Magnificent Rebel; the young Emperor Franz Joseph in the three Sissi movies; and for playing Jakob Grimm opposite Laurence Harvey's Wilhelm Grimm, in the 1962 MGM-Cinerama spectacular The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. 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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