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Herbert von Karajan (Conductor)

Born: April 5, 1908 - Salzburg, Austria
Died: July 16, 1989 - Anif, near Salzburg, Austria


First piano lessons from the well-known teacher and impresario Franz Ledwinka.


Herbert von Karajan performs for the first time in public, at a charity concert.


Studied at the Mozarteum Conservatory in Salzburg, taught by Franz Ledwinka, Franz Sauer and Bernhard Paumgartner, the last of whom also encouraged him to be trained as a conductor.


First public appearance as a pianist at the Mozarteum.


Graduated from high school (Humanistisches Gymnasium), in Salzburg, with a paper about "Thermodynamics and Internal Combustion Engines".


Studied for three semesters at the Vienna College of Technology.


Studied at the Vienna School of Music (piano) and qualified as a conductor.


First conducted in public in Vienna during a concert given by students of Alexander Wunderer's conducting class.


First public appearance as a conductor in Salzburg. Conducted Salome at the Festspielhaus, Salzburg.


Engaged as first "Kapellmeister" at the Stadttheater, Ulm. Conducted his first opera there on March 2, 1929 (The Marriage of Figaro). Responsible for summer courses for conducting at the Mozarteum International Foundation. Guest conductor with the Wiener Symphoniker.


First participated in the Salzburg Festival, conducting the music for the "Walpurgisnacht Scene" in Max Reinhardt's production of Faust.


Conducted the Wiener Philharmoniker for the first time, also in Salzburg.


Responsible for opera and symphony concerts at Aachen opera house.


Appointed Germany's youngest "Generalmusikdirektor". Guest concerts abroad (in Brussel, Stockholm, Amsterdam and other cities).


Conducted at the Vienna State Opera for the first time (Tristan und Isolde).


Married Elmy Holgerloef, leading operetta singer at the Aachen opera house. Conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker for the first time. Début at the Berlin State Opera in Fidelio. International triumph with Tristan und Isolde at the same place - hailed by a Berlin critic as "Das Wunder Karajan". First contract with the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft (extending until 1943). First recording: Magic Flute Overture, with the Staatskapelle Berlin.


In addition to his Aachen duties, appointed Staatskapellmeister at the Berlin State Opera. Conducts symphony concerts with the Prussian State Orchestra.


Married Anita Gütermann.


Spends closing months of the war in Italy (Milan, Trieste, Como).


First post-war concert, in Vienna with the Wiener Philharmoniker. Banned from conducting by Russian occupation authorities. Recordings. First contacts with Walter Legge, Artistic Director of Columbia Records and founder of the Philharmonia Orchestra, London. Anonymous participation in the Salzburg Festival.


First collaboration with the Wiener Singverein of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna, during recordings. Permitted to conduct again in Vienna.


Appearances at the Salzburg Festival.


Onwards Artistic Director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna. Intensive collaboration with the Wiener Symphoniker; close collaboration with the Philharmonia Orchestra, London. Conductor of La Scala, Milan. Numerous guest appearances in Europe and overseas. Runs courses for conductors in Lucerne; appearances at the Lucerne Festival.


Conducted at the Bayreuth Festival.


Appointed Music Director for Life of the Berliner Philharmoniker as successor to Wilhelm Furtwängler.


Artistic Director of the Vienna State Opera; collaboration with La Scala, Milan.


Onwards Continual involvement in Salzburg Festival.


Artistic Director of the Salzburg Festival.


Married Eliette Mouret.


Renewed collaboration with the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. First stereo recording: Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben.


Birth of daughter Isabel (with the Wiener Philharmoniker acting as godparents).


Opening concert of the Berliner Philharmoniker in Berlin (L.v. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony).


Exclusive contract with the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft.


Birth of daughter Arabel (with the Berliner Philharmoniker acting as godparents). Announces resignation from Vienna State Opera. Appointed to board of directors of the Salzburg Festival.

Since 1965

Production of films of concerts and operas, with Karajan acting as conductor and director; co-operation on these with French film director Henri-Georges Clouzot.


Inauguration of Salzburg Easter Festival; founder and Artistic Director: Herbert von Karajan. Opening of Easter Festival with performance of Die Walküre.


Bestowal of a Ring by Salzburg Province. Made Honorary Citizen of the City of Salzburg. Awarded the "Golden Gramophone" by the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft "as a token of admiration and gratitude". Appointed Honorary Senator of Salzburg University. Establishment of "Herbert von Karajan Foundation" in Berlin, for the encouragement of scientific work on the dissemination of conscious musical feeling. The foundation also organizes a competition for young conductors.


Establishment of a "Research Institute of the Herbert von Karajan Foundation for Experimental Psychology in Music", as part of the Psychology Faculty at the University of Salzburg. Since then, holding of annual seminar immediately after the Salzburg Easter Festival.


New exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, Hamburg and Electric and Musical Industries Ltd. (EMI), London.


Inauguration of the Salzburg Whitsun Concerts; founder and Director: Herbert von Karajan.


Karajan signs a new long-term contract with Polydor International.


Received Honorary Doctorate from Salzburg University. Received Honorary Doctorate from Oxford University. Prize of the French President for all new recordings made in the year 1978 as part of the "Grand Prix International du Disque" awarded by the Charles Cros Academy in Paris. Musical inauguration of the "International Congress Centre" (ICC) in Berlin by Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker. Herbert von Karajan patronised a new foundation bearing his name – gift of the Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde - which is dedicated in the main to scientific investigation in the neuro-physiological field. Named Honorary Doctor of Philosophy of the Weseda University, Tokyo. First guest appearance in China of the Berliner Philharmoniker and Herbert von Karajan.


First digital recording in Berlin (Mozart's The Magic Flute). The Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus presented Herbert von Karajan with the gold Clemens-Krauss-Medal. Celebration concert in Berlin on the occasion of Herbert von Karajan's 25th anniversary as Music Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker.


Presentation of the "Compact Disc Digital Audio System" during the Salzburg Easter Festival (co-presentation by PolyGram, Philips and Sony) Release of Deutsche Grammophon's "Karajan- Symphony-Edition": 28 LPs, comprising symphonic cycles by L.v. Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann and Tchaikovsky, compiled from recordings made in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Karajan is awarded the Cyril and Methodius Order, First Class, at the Council of Ministers building, Sofia, "for his outstanding services in collaboration with Bulgarian artists". With the Berliner Philharmoniker, Karajan gives a concert for the first time in the new Gewandhaus in Leipzig.


Eliette von Karajan's début as a painter, exhibiting her pictures on the record sleeves for the "Karajan-Edition" in the new "Galleria" series. 50 original paintings adorn 50 record sleeves for 100 works by composers ranging from Antonio Vivaldi to Igor Stravinsky. Karajan accepts two "Gramophone" awards (1981) for recordings with the Berliner Philharmoniker: Gustav Mahler's Ninth - receiving the prize for the best orchestral recording; and the complete Parsifal recording - chosen as "Record of the Year". Gala concerts to mark the 100th anniversary of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Presentation of the first Compact Disc to the conductor (Strauss's "Alpine" Symphony) while he was in Hamburg on tour with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Mayor Jacques Chirac presents Karajan with the "Médaille de Vermeil" in the Paris City Hall. Salzburg Festival - Karajan's first ever recording of Puccini's Turandot (with Katia Ricciarelli and Plácido Domingo) was presented to the public. First concert given by the Herbert von Karajan Foundation (for vocal studies) in Salzburg. First USA tour with the Berliner Philharmoniker since 1976. The tour is celebrated as a triumphant return, and the Maestro is greeted by standing ovations in Carnegie Hall, New York. The Governor of Salzburg, Dr. Wilfried Haslauer, presented Herbert von Karajan (as Music Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker) with a commemorative plaque, celebrating the orchestra's artistic participation at the Salzburg Festival over 25 years.


Foundation of Telemondial S.A.M., which, under the Maestro's personal direction, will produce Herbert von Karajan's complete repertoire again for the video-disc: a new audio-visual medium. Video-discs - in which Herbert von Karajan has complete artistic control of sound and film - will appear only when the equipment of reproduction has reached that necessary grade of perfection which Karajan has aspired to all his life. The Royal Philharmonic Society, London, honors Herbert von Karajan with its Gold Medal. Other conductors who have received this award include Arturo Toscanini, Sir Thomas Beecham and Bruno Walter. Herbert von Karajan celebrates his 75th birthday. The province of Salzburg marked the occasion by issuing a commemorative postage stamp. Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft honours him with a Golden Disc. Karajan's wife Eliette, whose paintings were reproduced on the covers of the "100 Masterpieces" edition, is presented with the "Golden Palette". The Salzburg Festival opens with a new production of Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier (producer and conductor: Herbert von Karajan). A Deutsche Grammophon recording of this opera, with the Maestro conducting Agnes Baltsa, Janet Perry, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Kurt Moll and the Wiener Philharmoniker, is released in 1984. The UNESCO awards Herbert von Karajan its International Music Prize. Herbert von Karajan announces that he has agreed to produce two concerts per year, until 1986, with the Berliner Philharmoniker, for German Television (ZDF Channel). These concerts are broadcast live, with Karajan assuming complete artistic control.


Japanese tour with the Berliner Philharmoniker (with concerts in Osaka and Tokyo); two further concerts are given in Seoul. The first digital recording of the complete L.v. Beethoven Symphonies with Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker is released on compact disc by Deutsche Grammophon. The complete L.v. Beethoven cycle is filmed by Telemondial. Herbert von Karajan is presented in Berlin with the Eduard-Rhein-Ring, donated by the founders of "Hör zu" magazine, in recognition of his achievements in the adoption of stereo sound in television, and his commitment to the introduction of digital sound. The sum of 100,000 DM flows into a fund for the Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker, initiated by Herbert von Karajan. 30th anniversary as Music Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker.


Awarded the "Golden Camera" by "Hör zu" magazine. Karajan signed a new long-term contract with Deutsche Grammophon. During a celebration of Solemn High Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, for the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, led by Pope John Paul II, Herbert von Karajan conducted the Wiener Singverein and the Wiener Philharmoniker in Mozart's Coronation Mass. This marked the first time that an orchestra was allowed in the Holy City to participate during a Mass. World-wide television coverage and a Telemondial film follows. Received the Honorary Ring of the Salzburg Festival, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Grosses Festspielhaus.


Festive concert in Berlin commemorating the centenary of the birth of Wilhelm Furtwängler. Verdi's Don Carlos performed at the Salzburg Easter Festival; the cast includes José Carreras, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Fiamma Izzo D'Amico and Agnes Baltsa, with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Live television broadcast in many European countries. In recognition of his artistic achievements, especially at the Easter, Whitsun and Summer Salzburg Festivals, Herbert von Karajan receives, at a ceremony in Athens, the Olympia Award of the Alexander Onassis Foundation; the prize-money goes towards the promotion of talented young singers. Presentation of Herbert von Karajan's first recording of Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Festival (with Samuel Ramey in the title-role, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Agnes Baltsa, Kathleen Battle, Gösta Winbergh, Ferruccio Furlanetto and the Berliner Philharmoniker.


Herbert von Karajan conducts for the first time the New Year's Concert of the Wiener Philharmoniker in the Great Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. Worldwide television relay. New production of Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Easter and Summer Festivals. Opening concert of the 750th anniversary celebrations of the city of Berlin. Tour of European capital cities (London, Brussels and Paris) with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Inaugural conof the new Chamber Music Hall of the Philharmonie in Berlin. Highly acclaimed six-city tour of West Germany with the Berliner Philharmoniker.


Karajan Edition "100 Masterpieces", on 25 CD’s, decorated with paintings by Eliette von Karajan, is released by Deutsche Grammophon in celebration of Herbert von Karajan's 80th birthday on April 5. Early recordings from 1938-1943 are released for the first time on CD, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Herbert von Karajan's association with Deutsche Grammophon. Tour of Japan (Osaka and Tokyo) planned with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker in Vienna, Paris and London, as well as on a visit to the USA (New York).

More Photos 2 | More Photos 3

Source: Deutsche Grammophon Website (Biography); Photos 31-33 ©Emil Perauer, Karajan®Photo Archive
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2001); Eliette und Herbert von Karajan Institut (Photos 31-33 * links, July 2014)

Herbert von Karajan: Short Biography | Wiener Singverein | Berliner Philharmoniker | Recordings of Vocal Works | General Discussions
Individual Recordings:
BWV 232 - H.v. Karajan | BWV 244 - H.v. Karajan

Links to other Sites

Official Herbert von Karajan website
Eliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute
Herbert von Karajan on Facebook
The Herbert von Karajan concert database
The Herbert von Karajan photo database

Deutsche Grammophon: Herbart von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan (Wikipedia)
Herbert von Karajan - Biography (AMG)

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Last update: ýJuly 14, 2014 ý18:55:45