Otto Klemperer

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Related to Otto Klemperer: Bruno Walter, Herbert von Karajan
Otto Klemperer
BirthplaceBreslau, Silesia Province, Germany

Klemperer, Otto

Klemperer, Otto (ôˈtō klĕmˈpərər), 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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Otto Klemperer (Bloch's exact contemporary) was introduced to Geist der Utopie by Georg Simmel and thought it brilliant; he and Bloch became close friends.
Not even the great past masters of the baton always managed to grasp the distinctive character of Janacek's world and many romanticising interpretations today sound somewhat comic (for example Otto Klemperer's 1956 recording of the Sinfonietta).
Her singing was respected by Richard Strauss (she premiered the roles of the Composer in the second version of Ariadne auf Naxos, and the Dyer's Wife in Die Trau ohne Schatten, while the Marschallin from Der Rosenkavalier was her signature role) and Puccini (who wrote complimentary letters after hearing her sing the roles of Suor Angelica and Manon), as well as conductors Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter, and Arturo Toscanini, to mention only a few.
Otto Klemperer, New Philharmonia and Philharmonia Orchestras.
(He had fuller access to ex-Soviet archives than Hilberg, as well as to the enormous historiography that Hilberg himself helped generate.) Friedlander stresses three intersecting dimensions of the Holocaust: the ideological, the institutional, and the personal (from witnesses who survived, like Primo Levi, Otto Klemperer and Filip Muller, and others who did not, like Etty Hillesum and Calel Perechodnik), building them into a grand tragic narrative in a style at once passionate and controlled.
The list of conductors who have written or lectured about Mahler is scant: Bruno Walter and Otto Klemperer (who were more concerned with their knowledge of Mahler personally than analysis of his works), Hans Zender, Norman del Mar, and Fritz Stiedry, who did indeed analyze individual works of Mahler but were not well-known enough to challenge the research of musicologists with new ideas.
Otto Klemperer, a Jew, survived the raid and fled, crossing Germany until he reached the Allied lines and safety.
SHE had a sleepless night in Amsterdam in the next bedroom to Otto Klemperer, waiting for the fire alarm to go off -Otto was notorious for setting his bedclothes alight with cigaretteends.
``He had links going back to the composer Richard Strauss, and knew all the leading conductors from Wilhelm Furtwangler and Otto Klemperer through to Karl Bohm and Herbert Von Karajan.
Against all odds, Legge certainly got things done--Tristan und Isolde with Flagstad and Furtwangler, the Karajan/Schwarzkopf Rosenkavalier, the innumerable late recordings of Otto Klemperer, the great series of Viennese operettas, the championing of Lipatti--the list goes on and on.
In the popular 1960s TV series, Klemperer, son of famed symphony conductor Otto Klemperer, played the comically incompetent Nazi commandant of a WWII German prisoner of war camp.