Otto Klemperer

Biography

Born: May 14, 1885   Died: July 6, 1973  
German conductor Otto Klemperer attended the Hoch Conservatorium in Frankfurt-am-Main, studied violin and piano at the Klindworth-Scharwenka and Stern Conservatories in Berlin, and composition with the German composer Pfitzner. He made his début in Berlin in 1905, where he conducted fifty performances of Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld, not a work that would now be identified with Klemperer's serious and profoundly personal approach to Read more music.

Shortly afterwards, he visited Gustav Mahler in Vienna and impressed the composer by playing a scherzo from a Mahler symphony by memory at the piano. With Mahler's personal recommendation, Klemperer was appointed choirmaster and conductor at the German Opera in Prague. He held this post for three years, during which he returned to Vienna to assist in rehearsals for Mahler's later symphonies. Again with Mahler's help, he became conductor at the Hamburg Opera in 1910. There followed a succession of appointments in Barmen (1913), Strasbourg (1914-1916), Cologne (1916-1924) and Wiesbaden (1924-1927) and visits to Barcelona, Rome, the U.S.S.R., and the U.S. between 1920 and 1936.

In 1927, he was engaged as director of the Kroll Opera House in Berlin, where he remained until 1931 when political pressures and financial difficulties forced its closure. In addition to better-known operas, Klemperer introduced new works which ran counter to the Nazis' idealized view of German culture, such as Schoenberg's Die glückliche Hand and Erwartung; Hindemith's two operas, Cardillac and Neues von Tag; and Janacek's From the House of the Dead. Indeed, Klemperer was then noted more for his interest in contemporary music than for his interpretations of the mainstream Classical and Romantic repertory on which, in later life, he concentrated almost entirely.

After a highly successful series of London concerts in 1929, Klemperer returned to Germany in 1931 to conduct the Berlin State Opera. As a Jew, he was in danger of persecution and, though honored with a gold medal for his "outstanding contribution to German culture," a German newspaper of the time sourly commented "[h]is whole outlook ran counter to German thought and feeling."

Klemperer was dismissed in 1933 and fled with his family first to Austria and later to Switzerland. While there, he was appointed conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and lived in California from 1935 to 1939 during which he also conducted the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. In 1937, he helped to reorganize the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, though refused to become its conductor.

Following a brain tumor that left him partially paralyzed, his career faltered. In 1940, Klemperer became a U.S. citizen, but his sufferings were increased by a manic depressive state characterized by recurring cycles of exhilaration and depression. In 1951, an accident at the Montreal airport forced Klemperer to conduct from a chair. To prove himself competent, he hired an orchestra to perform a concert of works of his own choice at Carnegie Hall. It was a success but, after an argument with American immigration authorities, Klemperer returned to Europe where he continued conducting in Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and France.

The peak of Klemperer's career came in 1959 with the Philharmonia Orchestra, based in London. When attempts were made to disband the orchestra in 1964, its members appointed him president, and the orchestra was reconstituted. As the New Philharmonia, the group reached new heights in the Beethoven cycles during the early 1960s. In the same period he conducted at Covent Garden Opera House. Read less
Handel: Messiah / Klemperer, Schwarzkopf, Gedda
Release Date: 10/31/2007   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 63621   Number of Discs: 3
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Browse 1-25 of 151 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Klemperer: Long Journey Through His Times & The Last Concert
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109289 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Daniel Adni
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Mozart: Die Zauberflote / Gedda, Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 557671 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Gottlob Frick,  Franz Crass,  Gerhard Unger,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
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  • 3.
    Otto Klemperer - Mozart: Symphony No 25 & 36;  Schubert
    Label: Vox Box Legends   Catalog: 7814 Release Date: 07/22/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Mahler: Symphony No. 9 / Klemperer, New Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554935 Release Date: 04/15/2016  
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Klemperer, Baker, Harper, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554931 Release Date: 04/15/2016  
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Heather Harper
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: Fidelio / Ludwig, Vickers, Frick, Berry, Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554002 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Franz Crass,  Gottlob Frick,  Ingeborg Hallstein,  Jon Vickers  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander / Klemperer, Adam, Silja, Unger, Burnmeister
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554008 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Theo Adam,  Anja Silja,  Martti Talvela,  Ernst Kozub  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  BBC Chorus
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  • 8.
    Bach: Mass In B Minor
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552120 Release Date: 09/18/2015  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
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  • 9.
    Beethoven: The Five Piano Concertos
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552123 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
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  • 10.
    Klemperer Conducts Wagner
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552129 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    CD: $12.99
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  • 11.
    Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552125 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Fritz Wunderlich
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
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  • 12.
    Mahler: Symphony No. 2
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552126 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Hilde Rössl-Majdan,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
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  • 13.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9079 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilma Lipp,  Ursula Boese,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Franz Crass
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 14.
    The Early Recordings Of Joan Sutherland
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 100815 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  April Cantelo,  Raymond Nilsson,  Dennis Brain  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Fulvio Vernizzi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Goldsborough Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    Anton Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 4, 6 & 7
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 9105 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
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  • 16.
    Bach: Orchestra Suite No. 3; Mozart: Symphony No. 29; Beethoven: Symphony No. 1
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5120 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
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  • 17.
    The Complete London Studio Recordings / Annie Fischer [8-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 634123 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Annie Fischer
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Efrem Kurtz,  Otto Klemperer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 18.
    English Accents: Oboe Players In England During The 1950s
    Label: Oboe Classics   Catalog: 2027 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frederick Delius,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Winfield,  Sidney Sutcliffe,  Leonard Brain,  Edward Selwyn  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Geraint Jones,  John Minchinton,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble,  Collegium Musicum Londinii,  London Baroque Ensemble  ... 
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  • 19.
    Great Pianists - Legendary Recordings from Arrau, Cherkassky, Cziffra, Gilels, Katchen
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5114 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Claudio Arrau,  Julius Katchen,  György Cziffra  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Christoph von Dohnányi,  Otto Klemperer,  Rudolf Kempe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    Lucerne Festival Historic Performances - Mozart, Beethoven / Haskil, Casadesus
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 95623 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Clara Haskil,  Robert Casadesus
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer,  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 21.
    Sacred Music - Bach, Handel, Beethoven / Klemperer
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 935402 Release Date: 08/20/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Franz Crass,  Agnes Giebel,  Nicolai Gedda,  Dame Janet Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  BBC Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 22.
    20th Century Music / Otto Klemperer [4-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 044012 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Kurt Weill,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonia String Quartet,  New Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 23.
    Bach, Rameau, Handel, Gluck, Haydn / Otto Klemperer [8-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 484332 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Christoph W. Gluck,  George Frideric Handel,  Jean-Philippe Rameau  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $39.99
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  • 24.
    Mahler: Symphonies 2, 4, 7 & 9, Das Lied von der Erde / Klemperer
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 483982 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Hilde Rössl-Majdan,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Christa Ludwig,  Fritz Wunderlich
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Mozart: Operas / Otto Klemperer [11-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 43782 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Yvonne Minton,  Sir Geraint Evans,  Luigi Alva  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
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