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Biography

  • Born

    20 July 1927

  • Born In

    Dresden, Sachsen, Germany

  • Died

    8 March 2019 (aged 91)

Michael Andreas Gielen (born July 20, 1927 in Dresden - died March 8, 2019 Mondsee/ Salzkammergut) was an Austrian composer and conductor.

Gielen was born in Dresden, Germany, and began his career as a pianist in Buenos Aires, where he studied with Erwin Leuchter and gave an early performance of Arnold Schoenberg's complete piano works in 1949. While serving as conductor and répétiteur at the Wiener Staatsoper (1950–60), he conducted much contemporary music outside the opera house. His next operatic appointment was as conductor of Royal Swedish Opera from 1960 to 1965, followed by posts at the Netherlands Opera and the Opern- und Schauspielhaus Frankfurt. He was principal conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra (1969–73), the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (1980–86) and of the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra (1986–99), which he has been closely associated with since.

He has demonstrated a mastery of the most complex contemporary scores, and he has given many premières, including Helmut Lachenmann's Fassade and Klangschatten – mein Saitenspiel, György Ligeti's Requiem, Karlheinz Stockhausen's Carré and Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Requiem für einen jungen Dichter. He is also a noted conductor of the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler. As a composer, he has elaborated on the tradition of the Second Viennese School and his small oeuvre includes settings of poems by Hans Arp, Paul Claudel, Stefan George, and Pablo Neruda.

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