Hans Knappertsbusch Biography (Wikipedia)
Hans Knappertsbusch (12 March 1888 – 25 October 1965) was a German conductor, best known for his performances of the music of Richard Wagner, Anton Bruckner and Richard Strauss as well as his unique public persona and conducting style. To this day, his interpretations of the works of Wagner, especially Parsifal, are regarded by many as among the best of the 20th century.
Knappertsbusch was born in Elberfeld, today's Wuppertal. He studied philosophy at Bonn University and conducting at the Cologne Conservatory with Fritz 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 Orchestra and the Bavarian State Opera, with a lifelong contract. Knappertsbusch later refused to join the Nazi party.
In April 1933, Knappertsbusch, along with Richard Strauss and other prominent German musicians, issued and signed a short statement in the newspaper "Münchner Neueste Nachrichten", titled Protest der Richard-Wagner-Stadt München ("protest of the Richard Wagner city of Munich"), in reaction to Thomas Mann's Leiden und Größe Richard Wagners ("Woes and greatness of Richard Wagner"), a critical but ultimately admiring lecture about the composer. The signatories, who generally held staunchly conservative (although not necessarily National Socialist) world views, considered the text, which was essentially a psychoanalytical treatise on Wagner, as denigrating and indecent. In addition to the Nazi Party's demands for an oath of allegiance shortly thereafter, which applied to all writers and artists in general at that time, their efforts contributed to Mann's decision to never return to Germany until the end of World War II.
Hans Knappertsbusch Tracks