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Erich Leinsdorf (1912 - 1993)

Erich Leinsdorf studied the piano from an early age and also the cello, as well as music theory and composition, but turned to conducting as an alternative to the many hours of practice required for mastery of the keyboard. He took part in a conducting master-class at the Salzburg Mozarteum in 1930, and went on to study music at the University of Vienna and at the Academy of Music between 1931 and 1933 while also working as a singing coach from 1931, and made his conducting debut in the Musikvereinsaal upon graduating at the age of twenty-one in 1933. In the same year he became the assistant conductor of Webern’s Workers Chorus, while also continuing to work as a coach. Having successfully auditioned before Bruno Walter and Arturo Toscanini at the Salzburg Festival in 1934, Leinsdorf was appointed as Toscanini’s assistant, working at the Salzburg Festival from 1934 to 1937, and also helping to prepare performances at the Florence Maggio Musicale between 1935 and 1937.




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