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Hans Knappertsbusch

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Hans Knappertsbusch (March 12, 1888 - October 25, 1965) was a German conductor, best known for his performances of the music of Richard Wagner, Anton Bruckner and Richard Strauss.

Knappertsbusch was born in Elberfeld (present-day Wuppertal). He studied philosophy at Bonn University and conducting at the Cologne Conservatory with Steinbach. For a few summers, he assisted Siegfried Wagner and Hans Richter at Bayreuth. He began his career with conducting jobs in Elberfeld (1913–1918), Leipzig (1918–1919) and Dessau (1919–1922). When Bruno Walter left Munich for New York, Knappertsbusch succeeded him as General Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera.

Knappertsbusch incurred the wrath of Goebbels by asking a German diplomat in the Netherlands whether he was a “Muss-Nazi” (someone who was forced to join the Nazi Party for career reasons): as a result his Munich contract was revoked [1]. In the late 1930s he went to Vienna to conduct at the Wiener Staatsoper, thus ignoring the Nazis’ policy of not allowing German artists to work in Austria. At the same time he became one of the emerging artists of the Salzburg Festival. Knappertsbusch continued to appear in Vienna and Salzburg during the German occupation of Austria.

When World War II ended, Knappertsbusch returned to Munich, but continued to guest conduct in Vienna, as well as to make appearances at the Bayreuth Festival.

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