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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
Browse 51-75 of 89 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Bruckner: Symphony No 7 / Tennstedt, London Philharmonic
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 30 Release Date: 11/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 52.
    Portrait Of A Legend - Tennstedt
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 5001 Release Date: 11/20/2007   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonín Dvorák
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Sir Charles Groves
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $48.99
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  • 53.
    Janacek: Glagolitic Mass; Strauss / Tennstedt, Et Al
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4208 Release Date: 07/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Leos Janácek
    Performer:  Sheila Armstrong,  Ameral Gunson,  William Shimell,  Robert Tear
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Wagner: Orchestral Highlights / Tennstedt, London PO
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 91008 Release Date: 07/17/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Beethoven: Symphonies No 3, 6, 8, Etc / Klaus Tennstedt
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 71462 Release Date: 11/21/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 56.
    Weber, Schubert, Brahms / Tennstedt, London Po
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4195 Release Date: 10/17/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 57.
    Mahler: Symphonies 4 & 8 / Lucia Popp, Klaus Tennstedt
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 61580 Release Date: 10/03/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Lucia Popp,  Elizabeth Connell,  Trudeliese Schmidt,  Nadine Denize  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir,  Tiffin School Boys Chorus
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  • 58.
    Mahler: Symphonies No 1 & 8 / Klaus Tennstedt
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 67743 Release Date: 10/03/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Eike Wilm Schulte,  Kenneth Riegel,  Julia Varády,  Jane Eaglen  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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    DVD: $36.99
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  • 59.
    Bruckner: Symphony No 4 / Tennstedt, Lpo
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 14 Release Date: 09/26/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Best Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 70853 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gioachino Rossini,  Alexander Borodin,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  Henriette Puig-Roget,  Victoria de los Angeles,  Heather Harper  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consortium Musicum,  South German Madrigal Choir Stuttgart,  Polish Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 61.
    Mahler: Songs Of A Wayfarer, Symphony No 1 / Tennstedt, Lpo
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 12 Release Date: 07/25/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Haydn: The Creation / Popp, Luxon, Tennstedt, London Po
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 8 Release Date: 02/21/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Benjamin Luxon,  Lucia Popp
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $24.99
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  • 63.
    Adagio
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 5035 Release Date: 11/15/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Paul A. Martini,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Patrice Fontanarosa,  Ruggiero Ricci,  Yuval Yaron,  Itzhak Perlman  ... 
    Conductor:  Douglas Gamley,  Günter Wand,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Thomas Fey  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 64.
    Legend - Music Of Myth, Magic And Mystery
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 33619 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Richard Wagner,  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Jean Martinon,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  ORTF National Chorus  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 65.
    Nigel Kennedy - Inner Thoughts
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31049 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Bogumila Gizbert-Studnicka,  Nigel Kennedy,  Olaf Maninger,  Daniel Stabrawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Jeffrey Tate,  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra
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    CD: $14.99
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  • 66.
    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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  • 67.
    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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  • 68.
    Mozart: Symphonies; Sibelius: Violin Concerto / Tennstedt, Yaron
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 5004 Release Date: 08/16/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  Yuval Yaron
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 69.
    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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  • 70.
    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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  • 71.
    Schumann: Concertos
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 964849 Release Date: 03/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Paul Tortelier,  Gerd Seifert,  Christopher Kohler,  Manfred Klier  ... 
    Conductor:  Yan Pascal Tortelier,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 72.
    Gemini - Wagner: Orchestral Music / Tennstedt, Berlin Po
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 86248 Release Date: 02/15/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 73.
    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  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 74.
    Smetana, Dvorak, Janacek / Tennstedt, London Po
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4139 Release Date: 03/23/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Antonín Dvorák,  Leos Janácek
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 75.
    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: $19.99
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