Klaus Tennstedt

Biography

Born: June 6, 1926; Merseburg, Germany   Died: January 11, 1998; Kiel, Germany  
A man who had thought life held no greater challenge than could be provided by a smaller theater or second-tier orchestra somewhere in Central Europe, conductor Klaus Tennstedt found himself propelled into the celebrity spotlight following several acclaimed guest appearances. His frail psyche and unstable health eventually broke under the weight of these responsibilities and he was obliged to all but retire from active conducting. Nonetheless, Read more those all-too-few years of international productivity revealed an intense, revelatory approach to familiar Romantic period scores and the rapturous applause he received from audiences and players alike was entirely deserved.

Tennstedt began his musical training with his father, violinist Hermann Tennstedt. After studies in violin and conducting at the Leipzig Hochschule für Musik, young Tennstedt was engaged as orchestra leader at the Halle Stadttheater in 1948. Forced by a growth on his left hand to abandon the violin, Tennstedt redirected his energies to piano and conducting and he made his debut as conductor at Halle in 1952. Beginning in 1954, he was appointed a concertmaster at the opera in Chemnitz and in 1958, he became general music director at the Dresden Staatsoper, a position he held until 1962. From 1962 to 1971, Tennstedt was general music director at the Mecklenburg Staatsoper in Schwerin, a period that afforded him time for guest appearances with the Dresden Staatskapelle and Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestras, among other ensembles in Eastern European and Soviet bloc cities. When directing a 1971 concert in Sweden, Tennstedt elected to defect and thereafter began a period of work with the Swedish Radio Orchestra. Another position as general music director opened for him in 1972, this time at Kiel, and he remained in that post until 1976.

Meanwhile, a life-altering event for Tennstedt occurred in 1974. Invited to Canada to conduct the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Bruckner's Symphony No. 7, the conductor's performance was greeted with such thunderous acclamation that word began to travel around the world. A Boston Symphony Orchestra appearance shortly thereafter brought international interest and Tennstedt's direction of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 was the stuff from which legends are born. Invitations came from New York, Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia, the other "big five" American orchestras. The amazed conductor made his British debut with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1976, prompting additional engagements with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Paris Orchestra. Tennstedt was honored by becoming the first German conductor to conduct the Israel Philharmonic in 1978 and a year later was engaged by Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra as principal conductor, a position he held until 1981. In 1979, he also became principal guest conductor with the Minnesota Orchestra and, from 1980, he held the same title with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1983, Tennstedt was appointed music director of the London Philharmonic, leading the orchestra in recordings and on tours abroad that won adulatory reviews. In 1983, he made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera, leading impressive performances of Fidelio despite less than fully satisfactory singers.

Eventually, the burdens of celebrity exacted an immense toll. Two hip replacements, radiation treatment for throat cancer, and increasing numbers of cancellations hounded his work. Self-doubt crippled his ability to continue working at the level that had brought him fame. Doctors ordered extended periods of rest, but to little lasting benefit. When he collapsed at a rehearsal in 1987, Tennstedt resigned his post with the LPO, conducting the orchestra infrequently thereafter as conductor laureate. Read less
Haydn: The Creation / Popp, Luxon, Tennstedt, London Po
Release Date: 02/21/2006   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 8   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts From Operas / Tennstedt, Et Al
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 3   Number of Discs: 1
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Mahler: Songs Of A Wayfarer, Symphony No 1 / Tennstedt, Lpo
Release Date: 07/25/2006   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 12   Number of Discs: 1
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Bruckner: Symphony No 4 / Tennstedt, Lpo
Release Date: 09/26/2006   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 14   Number of Discs: 1
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Bruckner: Symphony No 7 / Tennstedt, London Philharmonic
Release Date: 11/20/2007   Label: Lpo  
Catalog: 30   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 51-60 of 60 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Mahler: Symphony No 4 / Tennstedt, SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 5039 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Eva Csapó
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 52.
    Wagner: Orchestral Excerpts From Operas / Tennstedt, Et Al
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 3 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 53.
    Prokofiev: Symphonies 5 & 7 / Tennstedt, Bavarian Radio So
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 5003 Release Date: 08/16/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Bruckner: Symphony No 3 / Tennstedt, Bavarian Radio So
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 4093 Release Date: 07/19/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Hallelujah - 35 Great Sacred Choruses
    Label: Sparrow Records   Catalog: 96561 Release Date: 03/23/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  John Tavener,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  John Rutter  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Lucas,  James Morris,  Benjamin Bayl,  John Wallace  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger,  David Hill,  Sir Neville Marriner,  John Scott  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Winchester Cathedral Choir  ... 
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  • 56.
    Classical Heartbreakers
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85345 Release Date: 01/13/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Lucio Quarantotto,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Cohen,  Laszlo Varga,  André Previn,  Garrick Ohlsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Norman Del Mar,  David Abel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 57.
    The Perfect Beethoven
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67317 Release Date: 03/14/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Robert Holl,  Stuart Burrows,  Julia Hamari  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Eugen Jochum,  Kurt Sanderling,  Paul Strauss  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 58.
    Heavy Classix
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64769 Release Date: 03/16/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Richard Wagner,  Alexander Borodin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Seiji Ozawa,  Riccardo Muti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 59.
    Beethoven: Violinkonzert;  Bruch: Violinkonzert No 1 / Chung
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 54072 Release Date: 06/09/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Max Bruch
    Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Brahms: Violin Concerto / Kennedy, Tennstedt, London PO
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54187 Release Date: 03/15/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Nigel Kennedy
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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