The Info List - Fritz Reiner

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Frederick Martin "Fritz" Reiner (December 19, 1888 – November 15, 1963) was a prominent conductor of opera and symphonic music in the twentieth century. Hungarian born and trained, he emigrated to the United States
United States
in 1922, where he rose to prominence as a conductor with several orchestras. He reached the pinnacle of his career while music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
in the 1950s and early 1960s.


1 Life and career

1.1 Personal life

2 Repertoire and style 3 References 4 Sources 5 External links

Life and career[edit] Reiner was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary
into a secular Jewish family that resided in the Pest area of the city. After preliminary studies in law at his father’s urging, Reiner pursued the study of piano, piano pedagogy, and composition at the Franz Liszt Academy. During his last two years there, his piano teacher was the young Béla Bartók. After early engagements at opera houses in Budapest
and Dresden
(June 1914 - November 1921), where he worked closely with Richard Strauss, he moved to the United States
United States
of America in 1922 to take the post of Principal Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He remained until 1931, having become a naturalized citizen in 1928, then began to teach at the Curtis Institute
Curtis Institute
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his pupils included Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
and Lukas Foss. He conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
from 1938 to 1948 and made a few recordings with them for Columbia Records, then spent several years at the Metropolitan Opera, where he conducted a historic production of Strauss's Salome in 1949, with the Bulgarian soprano Ljuba Welitsch
Ljuba Welitsch
in the title role, and the American première of Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress
The Rake's Progress
in 1951. He also conducted and made a recording of the famous 1952 Metropolitan Opera
production of Bizet's Carmen, starring Rise Stevens. The production was telecast on closed circuit television that year. At the time of his death he was preparing the Met's new production of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. In 1947, Reiner appeared on camera in the film Carnegie Hall, in which he conducted the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
New York Philharmonic Orchestra
as they accompanied violinist Jascha Heifetz
Jascha Heifetz
in an abbreviated version of the first movement of Tchaikovsky's violin concerto. Ten years later, Heifetz and Reiner recorded the full Tchaikovsky
concerto in stereo for RCA Victor in Chicago. Reiner's music-making had been largely American-focused since his arrival in Cincinnati. But after the Second World War he began markedly increasing his European activity. When he became music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
in 1953 he had an international reputation. By common consent, the ten years that he spent in Chicago
mark the pinnacle of his career, and are best-remembered today through the many recordings he made in Chicago's Orchestra Hall for RCA Victor
RCA Victor
from 1954 to 1963. The first of these—of Ein Heldenleben
Ein Heldenleben
by Richard Strauss—occurred on March 6, 1954 and was among RCA's first to use stereophonic sound.[1] His last concerts in Chicago
took place in the spring of 1963. One of his last recordings, released in a special Reader's Digest boxed set, was a performance of Brahms' Fourth Symphony, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
in October 1962 in London's Kingsway Hall. This recording was later reissued on LP by Quintessence and on CD by Chesky. On September 13 and 16, 1963, Reiner conducted a group of New York musicians in Haydn's Symphony No. 101 in D major; this was followed by September 18 and 20, 1963, sessions devoted to Haydn's Symphony No. 95 in C minor.[2] He also appeared with members of the Chicago
Symphony in a series of telecasts on Chicago's WGN-TV
in 1953-54, and a later series of nationally syndicated programs called Music From Chicago. Some of these performances have been issued on DVD.[3] The videos clearly show his stern, disciplined demeanor, but at the conclusion of a piece, Reiner would turn to the audience and smile at them as he bowed. Personal life[edit] Reiner was married three times (one of them to a daughter of Etelka Gerster) and had three daughters. His health deteriorated after a heart attack in October 1960. He died in New York City
New York City
on November 15, 1963, at the age of 74. Repertoire and style[edit] Reiner was especially noted as an interpreter of Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss
and Bartók and was often seen as a modernist in his musical taste; he and his compatriot Joseph Szigeti
Joseph Szigeti
convinced Serge Koussevitzky
Serge Koussevitzky
to commission the Concerto for Orchestra from Bartók. In reality, he had a very wide repertory and was known to admire Mozart's music above all else. Reiner’s conducting technique was defined by its precision and economy, in the manner of Arthur Nikisch
Arthur Nikisch
and Arturo Toscanini. It typically employed quite small gestures — it has been said that the beat indicated by the tip of his baton could be contained in the area of a postage stamp — although from the perspective of the players it was extremely expressive. The response he drew from orchestras was one of astonishing richness, brilliance, and clarity of texture. Igor Stravinsky called the Chicago
Symphony under Reiner "the most precise and flexible orchestra in the world"; it was more often than not achieved with tactics that bordered on the personally abusive, as Kenneth Morgan documents in 2005 biography of the conductor. Chicago musicians have spoken of Reiner's autocratic methods; trumpeter Adolph Herseth told National Public Radio
National Public Radio
that Reiner often tested him and other musicians.[4] References[edit]

^ See album notes to RCA Red Seal BMG Classics SACD ^ Philip Hart, Fritz Reiner: A Biography, Northwestern UP, Jan 1, 1997, p. 280. ^ Video Artists International 4237 ^ "Last Performance". National Public Radio. July 20, 2001. Retrieved 2009-06-07. 


Hart, Philip (1994). Fritz Reiner: A Biography. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. ISBN 0-8101-1125-X.  Morgan, Kenneth (2005). Fritz Reiner: Maestro & Martinet. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-02935-6. 

External links[edit]

Fritz Reiner
Fritz Reiner
at AllMusic Fritz Reiner, Conductor from Robert Meyer, Musical Reminiscences On Fritz Reiner's marriage A Biography of Fritz Reiner

v t e

Principal Conductors of the Staatskapelle Dresden

Julius Rietz
Julius Rietz
(1874) Franz Wüllner
Franz Wüllner
(1877) Ernst von Schuch
Ernst von Schuch
(1884) Fritz Reiner
Fritz Reiner
(1914) Fritz Busch
Fritz Busch
(1922) Karl Böhm
Karl Böhm
(1934) Karl Elmendorff
Karl Elmendorff
(1943) Joseph Keilberth
Joseph Keilberth
(1945) Rudolf Kempe
Rudolf Kempe
(1949) Franz Konwitschny
Franz Konwitschny
(1953) Lovro von Matačić
Lovro von Matačić
(1956) Otmar Suitner
Otmar Suitner
(1960) Kurt Sanderling
Kurt Sanderling
(1964) Martin Turnovský (1966) Herbert Blomstedt
Herbert Blomstedt
(1975) Hans Vonk (1985) Giuseppe Sinopoli
Giuseppe Sinopoli
(1992) Bernard Haitink
Bernard Haitink
(2002) Fabio Luisi
Fabio Luisi
(2007) Christian Thielemann
Christian Thielemann

v t e

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Music Directors

Frank Van der Stucken (1895) Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Stokowski
(1909) Ernst Kunwald
Ernst Kunwald
(1912) Eugène Ysaÿe
Eugène Ysaÿe
(1918) Fritz Reiner
Fritz Reiner
(1922) Eugène Goossens (1931) Thor Johnson
Thor Johnson
(1947) Max Rudolf (1958) Thomas Schippers (1970) Walter Susskind (1978) Michael Gielen (1980) Jesús López Cobos
Jesús López Cobos
(1986) Paavo Järvi (2001) Louis Langrée
Louis Langrée

v t e

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Music Directors

Frederic Archer
Frederic Archer
(1895; Lead Conductor) Victor Herbert
Victor Herbert
(1898) Emil Paur (1904) Antonio Modarelli (1930) Otto Klemperer
Otto Klemperer
(1937; Guest Conductor) Fritz Reiner
Fritz Reiner
(1938) Victor de Sabata
Victor de Sabata
(1948; Guest Conductor) William Steinberg
William Steinberg
(1952) André Previn
André Previn
(1976) Lorin Maazel
Lorin Maazel
(1984) Mariss Jansons
Mariss Jansons
(1997) Manfred Honeck
Manfred Honeck

v t e

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Music Directors

Theodore Thomas (1891) Frederick Stock
Frederick Stock
(1905) Désiré Defauw
Désiré Defauw
(1943) Artur Rodziński (1947) Rafael Kubelík
Rafael Kubelík
(1950) Fritz Reiner
Fritz Reiner
(1953) Jean Martinon (1963) Irwin Hoffman (1968) Georg Solti
Georg Solti
(1969) Daniel Barenboim
Daniel Barenboim
(1991) Riccardo Muti
Riccardo Muti

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 42026455 LCCN: n81132091 ISNI: 0000 0001 0891 9300 GND: 119221144 SELIBR: 268229 SUDOC: 078052491 BNF: cb13898904m (data) MusicBrainz: 6a720f84-d307-4aa4-a75f-7d85bef56ede NLA: 35222608 NKC: js20020729001 BNE: XX852707 CiNii: DA08020