Fritz Reiner

Fritz Reiner ( born December 19, 1888 in Budapest, † November 15, 1963 in New York City ) was an American conductor of Hungarian origin.


Fritz Reiner, an assimilated Jewish family from plague entstammend, studied at the insistence of his father, first at the University of Budapest a few years of law before he attended the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, to be formed in István Thomán the piano and with Hans Koessler in the theory of composition to leave. Since 1909, a coach at the Budapest Opera, he made his debut there in 1910 as a conductor when he stepped in for an ailing colleague and a performance of Carmen successfully took over. Thereupon he was appointed principal conductor of the Opera of Ljubljana. 1911-1914 he was a member of the Budapest Volksoper, where he conducted Parsifal among others.

In 1914 he moved to the Dresden Opera, where he worked until 1921 and during that time worked a lot with Richard Strauss. Among other things, here Reiner conducted the German premiere of Die Frau ohne Schatten and led the Staatskapelle. He also had guest engagements in Rome and Barcelona.

In 1922 he settled in the U.S. down and was the successor of Eugène Ysaÿe chief conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra until 1931. Invitations also took him to San Francisco, Philadelphia and Chicago, in the season 1936/1937 he appeared in London's Covent Garden at the Royal Opera House.

Subsequently he was for ten years chief conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1938-1948) and taught in Philadelphia from 1931 to 1941 at the Curtis Institute of Music ( departments Opera and Orchestra), with whose orchestra he also worked out opera performances. Among his pupils were the later famous musician Lukas Foss and Leonard Bernstein. ( As Bernstein once addressed him as " Fritz " Reiner said, " It's Mr. Reiner. " )

From 1948 he was engaged for seven years at New York's Metropolitan Opera, where he conducted the famous performances of Salome with Ljuba Welitsch in the title role and 1951, the American premiere of The Rake 's Progress, among others, in 1949. He also appeared in concerts at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic. He also continued his international career in 1955, he led about performances of Die Meistersinger at the rebuilt Vienna State Opera.

Greatest reverberation, also heard on numerous recordings today, but scored Reiner. Chief conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which he headed from 1953 to 1963 In the spring of 1963, he conducted his last concert with the orchestra; since a heart attack in October 1960 his health was struck. Shortly before his death, he was busy with a new production of Götterdämmerung at the Met.

His first two marriages he had with daughters of Hungarian soprano Elka Gerster. In his first marriage he was with the younger daughter Elca (1911-1916), second wife of 1921/22, bis 1930, Berthe, the older, married. With his third wife, Carlotta, he lived in Rambleside, Westport (Connecticut).


Reiner was a conductor with exceptionally high standards; many of his recordings look at orchestral precision and brilliance unmatched to this day. Orchestra musicians were afraid of him because of this obsession and his irascible temperament precision. He left behind several recordings with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, but legendary, most of his numerous recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which have already been recorded by RCA in 1954 on extremely good sounding records in stereophonic and some of which are still recognized as reference recordings, as Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, Strauss 's Ein Heldenleben, or Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky.

The musical direction he took over at the premieres of the following works:

  • Gian Carlo Menotti: Amelia Goes to the Ball ( Amelia goes to the Ball ), 1937
  • Ottorino Respighi: Antiche arie e danze per liuto, 1924
  • Arthur Bliss: Hymn to Apollo, 1927
  • Béla Bartók:. Concerto for 2 Pianos, Percussion and Orchestra, 1943 The composer dedicated the work to Fritz Reiner.