Walter, Bruno

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Walter, Bruno,

1876–1962, German-American conductor, b. Berlin as Bruno Walter Schlesinger. Walter studied at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin. After he had conducted in several German cities, Gustav Mahler appointed him (1901) assistant conductor of the Vienna State Opera, where he remained until 1912. Walter was musical director of the Munich Opera (1912–22) and of the Municipal Opera, Berlin (1925–29), and appeared at Covent Garden and the Salzburg Festival. He made his American debut in 1923. While conductor of the Gewandhaus Concerts in Leipzig (1929–33), he was forced by the Nazis to leave Germany. He returned to the Vienna Opera in 1935 but left in 1938, when the Nazis took over Austria. Walter became a permanent resident of the United States in 1939. He conducted the Metropolitan Opera, the NBC Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and other American ensembles, being permanent conductor of the New York Philharmonic from 1947 to 1949. His performances had technical accuracy, controlled balance and inner details, expressive phrasing, rhetorical emphasis, and contrasting power and lyricism. Walter was renowned as an interpreter of the German and Austrian classics and was a friend and champion of Mahler. He wrote Gustav Mahler (tr. 1941), an autobiography, Theme and Variations (1946), and Of Music and Music-Making (1961).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Walter, Bruno


(pseudonym of B. Schlesinger). Born Sept. 15, 1876, in Berlin; died Feb. 17, 1962, in Beverly Hills, California. German conductor and writer on music.

Walter studied at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin. From 1894 to 1896, he was concertmaster, chorus master, and conductor at the Hamburg Opera, and from 1901 to 1912, at the Vienna Court Opera. Later he directed operas in Munich (1913-22) and Berlin (from 1925). He was director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig from 1929 to 1933. In 1933, Walter emigrated from fascist Germany and made appearances in Western Europe and North America. From 1939 he lived in the USA. He conducted productions at the Metropolitan Opera. Walter had toured Russia (1914) and the USSR (1923 and 1927). He was famous as an interpreter of Mozart, Mahler, and Verdi, and was the author of books on Mozart, Mahler, and others. Walter also wrote two symphonies and other works.


Von den moralischen Kräften der Musik. Vienna, 1935.
Gustav Mahler, 2nd ed. Berlin, 1957.
Theme and Variations: An Autobiography. London, 1947.
Vom Mozart der Zauberflöte. Frankfurt am Main, 1955.
In Russian translation:
“Fragmenty iz avtobiografii.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1958, nos. 9 and 10.
“O muzyke i muzitsirovanii” [1957]. In the collection Ispolnitel’- skoe iskusstvo zarubezhnykh stran, [issue] 1. Moscow, 1962.


Gavoty, B. B. Walter. Geneva, 1956.
Holde, A. B. Walter. Berlin, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Walter, Bruno (b. Bruno Walter Schlesinger)

(1876–1962) conductor; born in Berlin, Germany. A protégé of Mahler, he was in charge of the Munich Opera in 1913–22 and from 1919 was chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. International tours won him a worldwide reputation before he fled the Nazis in 1938. Settling in the U.S.A. the next year, he guest-conducted widely over the next two decades, including many appearances at the Metropolitan Opera. In 1947–49 he led the New York Philharmonic. He was best known for his performances and recordings of the Viennese classics from Mozart and Beethoven to Brahms and Mahler.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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