Leinsdorf, Erich

▪ 1994

      Austrian-born U.S. conductor (b. Feb. 4, 1912, Vienna, Austria-Hungary—d. Sept. 11, 1993, Zürich, Switz.), had some of his first successes in opera but later worked mainly with orchestras; his conducting was characterized by clarity and precision. He studied piano as a child and later the cello, music theory, and composition and graduated from the University of Vienna and State Academy of Music. He conducted at Salzburg until he left Europe in 1937 for the U.S., where he formed an association with the Metropolitan Opera. In 1943 he became music director and conductor of the Cleveland (Ohio) Orchestra, but he was almost immediately drafted into military service. From 1947 to 1956 he directed the Rochester (N.Y.) Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he made a number of recordings. After periods with the New York City Opera and the Metropolitan, in 1962 he succeeded Charles Munch as director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. At Boston until 1969, Leinsdorf was especially known for performing many new works. He disliked administrative duties and, except for a short period with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, for the remainder of his career he served as guest conductor for many major orchestras. His appearances were noted for innovative programming, which often included new or little-known works in unusual combinations with the standard repertoire. Leinsdorf was a man of wide-ranging interests and knowledge, and he was outspoken in his views on musical and other matters. The autobiographical Cadenza: A Musical Career was published in 1976, and his book on conducting, The Composer's Advocate, in 1981.

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▪ American musician
born Feb. 4, 1912, Vienna, Austria-Hungary
died Sept. 11, 1993, Zürich, Switz.

      Austrian-born American pianist and conductor.

      Following musical studies at the University of Vienna and the State Academy, Leinsdorf served as rehearsal, and then solo, pianist for Anton von Webern's Singverein der Sozialdemokratischen Kunststelle (Choral Society of the Social Democratic Arts Council). Bruno Walter took him as his assistant at Salzburg in 1934, and that same year Arturo Toscanini engaged him as pianist for a special performance in Vienna. In 1937, having already established a name in Italy as a conductor of opera, Leinsdorf was invited to join the New York Metropolitan Opera as assistant conductor. He was later promoted to full conductor and in 1939 was put in charge of the German repertory.

      Leinsdorf succeeded Artur Rodzinsky at the Cleveland Orchestra in 1943 but sacrificed the post when he was inducted into the U.S. Army. He returned from overseas in 1947 to a position with the Rochester Philharmonic. In 1956 he was musical director of the New York City Opera and then in 1957 resumed work with the Metropolitan as conductor and musical consultant. He succeeded Charles Munch at the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1962, remaining there until 1969. In 1978 he was named chief conductor of the Radio Symphony of West Berlin, a post he retained until 1980.

      He made guest appearances with virtually every major orchestra in Europe and the United States, and he recorded extensively. The autobiographical Cadenza: A Musical Career was published in 1976, and a book on conducting, The Composer's Advocate, in 1981.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Leinsdorf,Erich — Leins·dorf (līnzʹdôrf , līnsʹ ), Erich. 1912 1993. Austrian born American conductor who led the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, the New York City Opera Company, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. * * * …   Universalium

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