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Georges Sebastian


Georges Sébastian studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, where he was a pupil of Bartók, Kodály and Leo Weiner. After graduating in 1921 he attended Bruno Walter’s conducting class in Munich during 1922 and in the same year joined the Munich State Opera, where Walter was the chief conductor. He also worked as an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, New York in 1923, before returning to Europe to take up the posts of conductor with the Hamburg State Opera (1924–1925) and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (1925–1927). Sébastian renewed his relationship with Walter in 1927 when he was appointed first conductor at the Berlin Städtische Oper, where the latter was chief conductor; here he conducted several notable Berlin premières, including Bartók’s one-act opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle and Ernst Krenek’s Jonny spielt auf; in addition he also began to specialise in the traditional Austro-German operatic repertoire. In 1931 Sébastian moved to Moscow to become chief conductor of the Moscow Radio Orchestra, conducting the complete symphonic works of Tchaikovsky during the fortieth anniversary of the composer’s death in 1933. He subsequently left Europe, conducting in North and South America between 1938 and 1945, most notably at the San Francisco Opera and with the Scranton Philharmonic Orchestra in Pennsylvania (1940–1945). Having returned to Europe after the end of World War II, Sébastian settled in Paris where

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