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Michael Gielen (b1927)

Michael Gielen’s father was the distinguished opera and drama director Joseph Gielen, who was active in the main European centres before and after World War II. In addition his uncle was the pianist Eduard Steuermann, a pupil of both Busoni and Schoenberg. With the advent of the war, the Gielen family settled in Buenos Aires in 1940, where Michael studied philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires; and music theory with Erwin Leuchter and piano with Rita Kurzmann-Leuchter, both privately, from 1942 to 1947. He began his professional career as a répétiteur at the Teatro Colón, the leading opera house in South America, and performed the complete piano works of Schoenberg in 1949. The following year Gielen returned to Europe, studying musical analysis with Josef Polnauer in Vienna from 1950 to 1953 at the same time as working until 1958 as a répétiteur at the Vienna State Opera. He also began to conduct at the Vienna State Opera from 1954, and was soon active as both a concert and recording conductor, appearing for instance often on the Vox label directing various Viennese orchestras in concerto accompaniments.



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