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Erich Kleiber (1890 - 1956)

Although Kleiber was born in Vienna, he lived in Prague with his grandfather after the early deaths of his parents, returning to Vienna to continue his musical education. He was a violin student, but his decision to seek a career as a conductor evidently followed the experience of hearing Mahler conduct his Symphony No. 6. Kleiber entered the Prague Conservatory as a composition student in 1908, gaining a prize for a symphonic poem in 1911. While in Prague he attended rehearsals at the German Theatre, and was eventually taken on as the theatre’s chorusmaster, also in 1911. The following year he moved to Darmstadt as third conductor at the court theatre, where he enjoyed the encouragement of Arthur Nikisch. After the end of World War I, in 1919, Kleiber moved to Barmen-Elberfeld (Wuppertal) as first conductor, thereafter rapidly accepting the same post at Düsseldorf in 1921 and at Mannheim in 1922.



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