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Willi Boskovsky (1909 - 1991)

Willi Boskovsky became world famous in 1954 when he succeeded Clemens Krauss as conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Day Concerts (broadcast first on radio and later television), although he had been concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra since 1936. He was also the chief conductor of the Johann Strauss Orchestra of Vienna until his death. Instrumental in reviving the ‘Vorgeiger’ tradition set by Johann Strauss I—conducting an orchestra from the violin—Boskovsky was highly acclaimed for his direction of Strauss’s music, carrying off the well-loved style with ease, lightness and humour.

Boskovsky graduated from the Vienna Academy in 1927. He led his own quartet with Philipp Matheis (second violin), Gunther Breitenbach (viola) and Nikolaus Hübner (cello); players who, with Johann Krump (double-bass), Alfred Boskovsky (clarinet), Josef Veleba (horn) and Rudolf Hanzl (bassoon) formed the Vienna Octet and made several recordings that are still favourites today.




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