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Clemens Krauss

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Biography

Clemens Heinrich Krauss (31 March 1893 – 16 May 1954) was an Austrian conductor and opera impresario, particularly associated with the music of Richard Strauss.

Biography:
Krauss was born in Vienna, the out-of-wedlock child of Clementine Krauss, then a 15-year-old dancer in the Vienna Imperial Opera Ballet, later a leading actress and operetta singer, who was a niece of the prominent nineteenth-century operatic soprano, Gabrielle Krauss (1842-1904). His natural father, the chevalier Hector Baltazzi (1851-1916), belonged to a family of wealthy Phanariot bankers resident in Vienna. Baltazzi’s older sister Helene was married to Baron Albin Vetsera and was the mother of Baroness Mary Vetsera, who was thus Clemens Krauss’ first cousin.

As a boy, Krauss was a chorister in the Hofkapelle (Imperial Choir). He attended the Vienna Conservatory, graduating in 1912. He studied composition with Hermann Graedener and theory with Richard Heuberger. After graduation he was chorus master in the Brno Theater (1912-1913). There he made his conducting debut in 1913. The famous Romanian soprano Viorica Ursuleac, with whom he often performed, was his second wife.

Career:
Krauss made the rounds of regional centers, conducting in Riga (1913-1914), Nuremberg (1915), and Stettin (1916-1921), now known as Szczecin. The latter appointment gave him ample opportunity to travel to Berlin to hear Arthur Nikisch conduct the Berlin Philharmonic, a major influence. Krauss’s next post was back in Austria, where he became director of the opera and symphony concerts in Graz. In 1922 he joined the conducting staff of the Vienna State Opera and teacher of the conducting class at the State Academy of Germany.

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