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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trivia (11)

Overview (4)

Born in Salzburg, Austria-Hungary [now Austria]
Died in Anif, Salzburg, Austria
Birth NameHeribert Ritter von Karajan
Height 5' 9½" (1.77 m)

Mini Bio (1)

It is an unfortunate aspect of the present day that there are those who cannot necessarily see and appreciate pure greatness when it stares them in the face. The excuse usually given is that some people could not forgive, let alone understand, why he joined the Nazi Party. However, Karajan never was an active party member. He did it to get a job. More unfortunate is that Karajan's marvelous legacy is unparalleled. Aside from its sheer breadth, the "rightness" of practically everything should be obvious upon the most cursory listening. One can depend on a consistently high level of musicality, tempo, phrase, light and shade in everything Karajan touched. His mastery of the music was inexplicable, memorizing virtually everything note for note-to the degree that it can be compared to knowing where every grain of sand is in a building. His ability to transmit his consummate musicianship through his motions, critical ear and carefully chosen words are virtually unmatched. Can anyone listen to his 1960 recording of Sibelius' Second Symphony and remain less than convinced the ultimate has been achieved? Can anyone watch his late performance of Wagner's Lieberstod with Jessye Norman, and not feel moved to tears. Can anyone listen to his Brahms Fisrt Symphony for 1959 and not be aware of its dramatic intensity and extraordinary beauty?

Karajan was the greatest conductor of modern times. There is no parallel at all; no one of his degree of ability, knowledge and musicality; no one who was utterly one with his music making. It is time to put aside biases from another era that had utterly nothing to do with the real Karajan. It is time to move on from WWII, and realize that Karajan might not have been a perfect human being, but who is? His legacy is one of the greater gifts to our culture, and his spirit remains string in the music he made.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Antony Cooke

Spouse (3)

Eliette Mouret (6 October 1958 - 16 July 1989) ( his death) ( 2 children)
Anita Gütermann (22 October 1942 - 1958) ( divorced)
Elmy Holgeroef (26 July 1938 - ?) ( divorced)

Trivia (11)

Perhaps the most controversial conductor of the 20th century, he is both admired and reviled for his insistence on technical perfection in an orchestra (often, his detractors say, at the expense of everything else, bringing a dehumanizing quality to his music-making). His wartime membership in the Nazi party has contributed a great deal to the unfavorable opinion some critics have of him. From 1955, when he became conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, until his death in 1989, he was well-known as the most powerful musical influence in Germany.
Father of Isabel Karajan (b. 1960) and Arabel (b. 1964), with Eliette.
Ardent proponent of advancing sound recording technology. He eagerly supported high-fidelity studio recording technology and actively encouraged Sony and Philips to commit to developing and marketing the compact disc in the early 1980s.
Historians and biographers have debated the validity of his membership in the National Socialist (Nazi) Party. However, most agree that his association with NSDAP Officers helped to advance his conducting career and ensure his success as a famous interpretive artist in postwar Europe.
He was originally supposed to have conducted the Maria Callas-Richard Tucker studio recording of Verdi's "Aida", but Tucker, who was Jewish, refused to work with Karajan because of his Nazi affiliations during WW II. Karajan was replaced by famous Italian conductor Tullio Serafin, and Tucker made the recording with Callas.
He is the only conductor to have recorded Bach's "Mass in B Minor" five times.
Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for thirty-five years - from 1954 until 1989.
Younger brother of Wolfgang (born in 1906).
Son of Ernest Theodor Emanuel (1868-1951) and Martha Kosmac (1881-1954).
Studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg between 1916 and 1926.
His great-great-grandfather Georgios Karajannis was born in the Ottoman province of Rumelia, today West Macedonia in Greece, and emigrated to Saxony, where his surname became "Karajan" (1792).

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