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Herbert von Karajan (1908 - 1989)

Herbert von Karajan’s father was a doctor at the Salzburg hospital and his mother was of Slav descent. He began to take piano lessons when he was four, and studied chamber music, composition, piano and theory at the Salzburg Mozarteum for ten years from 1916. His tutors included Bernhard Paumgartner, who conducted his first concerto appearance in 1919 and encouraged him to become a conductor. After graduating from the Mozarteum in 1926, Karajan entered the Vienna Academy, where he studied piano with Hofmann and conducting with Wunderer. At the beginning of 1929 he conducted the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra; as a result he was offered the chance to conduct a trial performance by the director of the Ulm Municipal Theatre, and subsequently was appointed as chief conductor, a post he held from 1929 to 1934. During this period he also conducted the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and joined the Nazi party not once but twice, in Ulm and also in Aachen, where from 1934 to 1942 he was chief conductor, conducting both opera and symphony concerts. He made his debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1937 conducting Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and during the following year appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. After performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the Berlin State Opera he was hailed as ‘Der Wunder Karajan’ (‘The Karajan Miracle’) by the Berlin music critic von der Nüll, and was offered a recording contract by Deutsche Grammophon; in 1939 he was



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