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Gunter Wand (1912 - 2002)


Günter Wand initially studied music in Wuppertal, before moving to the Cologne Conservatory where his teachers included Philip Jarnach for composition and Paul Baumgartner for piano. In addition he received some guidance as a student conductor from Franz von Hoesslin at the Munich Conservatory, although in this field he was largely self-taught. After completing his studies Wand worked for a year on a voluntary basis as a répétiteur at Wuppertal, where he made his conducting debut with Robert Stolz’s operetta Venus in Seide (Venus in Silk). He then spent four years as a répétiteur and conductor at Allenstein in East Prussia (now Olsztyn, Poland), where he conducted over six hundred performances of opera, operetta, and ballet as well as concerts, covering the entire repertoire. At Detmold he served as chief conductor, before being appointed to the position of second conductor (later promoted to first) at the Cologne Opera in 1939. Wand was based at Cologne throughout the war years, while also conducting elsewhere in Germany. After the destruction of the Cologne Opera House in 1944 he worked briefly as the conductor of the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra until 1945, returning to Cologne to become chief conductor of the opera between 1945 and 1948.

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