He was second Kapellmeister at the Tivoli Theatre in Bremen in 1914 before being drafted for military service in 1915. After World War I he became conductor at the Intimate Theatre (Kammerspiele), Hamburg, and was répétiteur and later Kapellmeister at the opera house in Cologne under Otto Klemperer between 1919 and 1923. In 1923 he became Kapellmeister in Mainz and from 1925 Principal Kapellmeister at the Städtische Oper Berlin under Bruno Walter. In 1933 Dessau emigrated to France, and 1939 moved further to the U.S. where initially he lived in New York before moving to Hollywood. Dessau returned to Germany with his second wife, the writer Elisabeth Hauptmann, and settled in East Berlin in 1948. Starting in 1952 he taught at the Public Drama School (Staatliche Schauspielschule) in Berlin-Oberschöneweide where he was appointed to a professorship in 1959.
He became a member of the Deutsche Akademie der Künste Berlin in 1952 and was vice-president of this institution between 1957 and 1962. He taught many Meisterschüler (pupils in a master class), including Friedrich Goldmann, Reiner Bredemeyer, Jörg Herchet, Hans-Karsten Raecke, Friedrich Schenker, Luca Lombardi and Karl Ottomar Treibmann. From 1954 he was married to the choreographer and director Ruth Berghaus. Their son Maxim Dessau (b. 1954) studied at the College of Film and Television (Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen) in Potsdam-Babelsberg.
Maxim Dessau is now a movie director. Dessau died on 28 June 1979 at the age of 84, in the then East German city of Königs Wusterhausen, on the outskirts of Berlin. 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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