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Franz Welser-Most (b1960)

Franz Welser-Möst studied the violin and piano as a child and also sang in a choir. When he was fourteen he entered the Linz Music School, and two years later began to conduct its orchestra and chorus, doing so in public for the first time in 1977. He survived a serious motor accident in 1978, when his car skidded on ice, but was left with permanent nerve damage in his left hand which destroyed any chance of a future career as an instrumentalist. In order to retain his relationship with music he concentrated wholly on conducting, and became a conducting pupil of Balduin Sulzer. He was a finalist in the 1979 Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in Berlin, and went on to study at the Music High School in Munich between 1980 and 1984, but did not graduate. Welser-Möst’s professional début as a conductor was in 1983 with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra; and his first permanent appointment came early in his career in 1986, when he took up the post of chief conductor of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra in Sweden, a position he retained until 1991. During 1986 he also substituted for Jesús López-Cobos in an all-Mozart concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, led it during a tour of Europe, and gained favourable critical coverage. As a result he received numerous offers of guest engagements, and he made his débuts at the Vienna State Opera, with Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, in 1987, and in the USA, with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra, in 1989.




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