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Karl Münchinger (1915 - 1990)

As a child Karl Münchinger showed considerable musical talent, learning to play several instruments and going on to study composition and conducting first at the Music High School in Stuttgart and then at the Leipzig Conservatory, where he was a conducting pupil of Hermann Abendroth; he also came into contact with Clemens Krauss at Salzburg. After graduating from Leipzig he returned to Stuttgart where he worked as a choirmaster and organist. Between 1941 and 1943 he served as first conductor of the Hanover Symphony Orchestra, the only appointment which he held outside of Stuttgart during the whole of his career.

Following the end of World War II, in 1945 Münchinger founded the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, many of whose members had been his fellow students. Despite the modest resources available at that time he quickly established the orchestra, and by the end of the 1940s it was touring internationally: it made its debut in Paris in 1949, the first German ensemble to do so since the cessation of hostilities, and also appeared in England and Spain. In 1952, conductor and orchestra toured across Central and South America, and in the following year Münchinger made his independent American debut as a conductor, in San Francisco. The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and Münchinger made two further highly-applauded tours of the USA, in 1954 and 1977.




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