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Karel Ančerl

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Biography

Karel Ančerl (April 11, 1908 - July 3, 1973) was a great Czech conductor, respected for his performances of contemporary music and for his interpretations of music by Czech composers. His recordings with Czech Philharmonic Orchestra aquired many international awards (Golden Harmony, Grand Prix du disque) and digitalized set of them with the name “Karel Ančerl Gold Edition” (42 CD) was awarded by Grand Prix du disque de l´Académie Charles Cross.

Ančerl studied under Hermann Scherchen and later worked with Václav Talich, among others. From 1933 to 1939 he conducted for the Prague radio, but his career as a conductor was interrupted by World War II, when he was sent to Terezín and Auschwitz. At these camps Ančerl managed to survive, but lost his family.
After the war he continued to conduct for the Prague radio until 1950, and then rose to fame when appointed the artistic director of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. The eighteen year period he headed this orchestra are often regarded as its most accomplished years, with much international recognition. In 1968, after the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, he decided to emigrate to Toronto. There he conducted the Toronto Symphony Orchestra until his death in 1973.
Ančerl’s remarkable control of orchestral dynamics, along with an exceptional grasp of both musical form and detail made him an especially effective recording artist. His broad range of recordings for the Czech Supraphon label have been carefully preserved with digital technology.

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