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Classicsonline Home » Artists » » Klemperer, Otto

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Otto Klemperer (1885 - 1973)


Klemperer’s father was a businessman and his mother a piano teacher. When he was four years old, the family moved to Hamburg, where he was educated at the Realgymnasium des Johanneum, subsequently entering the Hoch Conservatory at Frankfurt in 1901 to study piano with James Kwast and music theory with Iwan Knorr. When Kwast moved to Berlin during the following year to teach at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory, Klemperer followed him, studying in addition composition and conducting with Hans Pfitzner. Klemperer directed the off-stage chorus in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 conducted by Oskar Fried in 1905, at which the composer was present, and went on to make his professional debut in 1906 substituting for Fried in Max Reinhardt’s production of Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers, which he conducted for fifty performances.

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