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Franz Konwitschny

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Biography

Franz Konwitschny (August 14, 1901, Fulnek, Moravia – July 28, 1962, Belgrade) was a German conductor and violist.

He started his career on the viola, playing in the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Wilhelm Furtwängler. In 1925, he moved to Vienna, where he played the viola with the Fitzner Quartet. He also began teaching at the Wiener Volkskonservatorium. He later became a conductor, joining the Stuttgart Opera in 1927. From 1949 until his death he was principal conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. From 1953 until 1955 he was also principal conductor of the Dresden Staatskapelle and from 1955 onward he led the Berlin State Opera.

Like Furtwängler, Konwitschny used “expansive gestures” and had a “dislike of an exact beat.” Konwitschny recorded a complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies.

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