Karajan, Herbert von

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Karajan, Herbert von

(käräyän`), 1908–89, Austrian conductor. Karajan began his conducting career in 1927. After World War II his reputation spread through Europe to the United States. He toured with various orchestras (notably the Berlin Philharmonic) and participated in many of Europe's music festivals. He was musical director of the Berlin Philharmonic and was artistic director of the Vienna State Opera (1956–64). He was a remarkable conductor, but his dictatorial style made him controversial.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Karajan, Herbert Von


Born Apr. 5, 1908, in Salzburg. Austrian conductor.

Karajan pursued his musical training at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He was conductor of the opera in Ulm (1927–34) and Aachen (1934–41) and then of the Berlin State Chorus (1941–44). Since the war, Karajan has come to be a leading figure in the musical life of Western Europe. In 1947 he became conductor of the Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde and has participated in festivals in Salzburg, Vienna, Bayreuth, Berlin, and Munich. He has toured with the Vienna Symphony and the London Philharmonia and has appeared as conductor and director in many European opera theaters. After N. Furtwängler’s death in 1954, he became head of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (West Berlin); at the same time, he was musical director of the Vienna State Opera (1956–64) and the Salzburg Festival (1957–60). In 1962, 1964, and 1969, he appeared in the USSR.

Karajan’s conducting is characterized by fidelity to the composer’s score, irreproachable sense of musical form, and keen intellectual perception of the work.


Rubin, M. “Tri portreta.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1962, no. 4.
Sabinina, M. “Na kontsertakh Gerberta Karaiana.” Muzykal’naia zhizn’ 1969, no. 16.
Herzfeld, F. Herbert von Karajan, 2nd ed. Berlin, 1962.
Haeusserman, E. H. von Karajan: Biographie. [Güthersloh, 1968.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.