Charles Munch

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Munch, Charles

 

Born Sept. 26, 1891, in Strasbourg, France; died Nov. 6, 1968, in Richmond, Va. French conductor and violinist.

Munch became the leader of the Strasbourg Orchestra in 1919 and of the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig in 1923. In 1932 he settled in Paris, where he made his debut as a conductor. From 1935 to 1938 he directed the Paris Philharmonic Orchestra and from 1937 to 1946, the Paris Conservatory Orchestra. Munch was the first to perform Honegger’s Song of Liberation (1944) and Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony (1945) in Paris after its liberation from the fascist German occupation. In 1946, Munch made his debut in the USA; from 1949 to 1962 he conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In the following years he was very active as a guest conductor; in 1956 and again in 1965 he appeared in the USSR. In 1967, Munch became head of the newly created Paris Orchestra.

A vivid emotional quality, profound intellect, strict taste, and exceptionally precise conducting made Munch an outstanding interpreter of many musical works. He brought public attention to contemporary French composers (A. Honegger, A. Roussel, H. Dutilleux, J. Guy-Ropartz), whose works he was the first to conduct.

WORKS

In Russian translation:
Ia—dirizher. Moscow, 1960.

E. IA. RATSER