Otto Klemperer

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Otto Klemperer
BirthplaceBreslau, Silesia Province, Germany

Klemperer, Otto

(ô`tō klĕm`pərər), 1885–1973, German conductor, b. Breslau. Klemperer studied in Frankfurt and Berlin. Working first in Prague, he later conducted the Berlin State Opera (1927–33), introducing new works by Janáček, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Hindemith. With the rise of the Nazi regime, he went to the United States where he conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic (1933–39). Klemperer was celebrated for his interpretations of Beethoven, Mahler, and Richard Strauss. In 1938 he directed the reorganization of the Pittsburgh Orchestra. In 1946 he returned to Europe, where he conducted in Hungary, Germany, and England.


See his Minor Recollections (1964).

Klemperer, Otto


Born May 14, 1885, in Breslau, present-day Wroclaw, Poland; died July 7, 1973, in Zürich. German conductor.

Klemperer began his training at the conservatory in Frankfurt am Main in 1901; he later studied in Berlin. He made his debut in 1906. Klemperer conducted at opera houses in Prague, Hamburg, Strasbourg, Cologne, and Wiesbaden. He was a conductor at the Berlin Kroll Opera from 1927 to 1931 and at the Berlin State Opera from 1931 to 1933. He left Germany in 1933 and became the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (USA); he held this position until 1939. From 1947 to 1950, Klemperer directed the Budapest Opera House; at the same time, he and W. Felsenstein staged the opera Carmen at the Berlin Comic Opera Theater. He lived in London and worked with the London Philharmonic until his death. In 1961 and 1962, Klemperer was responsible (as conductor and director) for the staging of the operas Fidelio by Beethoven and The Magic Flute by Mozart at Covent Garden. He toured many countries and performed several times in the USSR (first time in 1924.).

Klemperer was one of the most important conductors of the 20th century. His interpretations were distinguished by their breadth and profound understanding of the composers’ intentions. His talents were best revealed in his interpretations of Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, and Mozart. Klemperer wrote several works, including the opera Das Ziel, symphonies, Masses, works for piano, and vocal and instrumental pieces.


“Moi vospominaniia. . . .” In Ispolnitel’skoe iskusstvo zarubezhnykh stran, issue 3. Moscow, 1967. Pages 193–225.


Bollert, W. “O. Klemperer.” Musica, 1955, vol. 9.