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Frederick Stock (1872 - 1942)


Frederick Stock studied violin and composition at the Cologne Conservatory, where his teachers included the composer Engelbert Humperdinck and the conductor Franz Wüllner, and where Willem Mengelberg was a fellow student. Following graduation he joined the Cologne Municipal Orchestra, known as the Gürzenich Orchestra, as a violinist, and remained with it for four years. During this time he played under Brahms, Richard Strauss and Tchaikovsky, and met the conductor, Theodore Thomas. Thomas invited him in 1895 to join his orchestra in Chicago, in which Stock played for four years as principal viola. Thomas appointed him as assistant conductor in 1899, and from 1903 he was given responsibility for all the orchestra’s concerts presented outside of Chicago. When Thomas died in 1905, Stock succeeded him as the chief conductor of the orchestra, which in 1912 changed its name from the Theodore Thomas Orchestra to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. For the rest of his life he remained at the head of this orchestra, apart from one year, 1918, when he was briefly replaced until he gained American citizenship.

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