Böhm, Karl

BORN 28 Aug 1894, Graz, Steiermark - DIED 14 Aug 1981, Salzburg
GRAVE LOCATION Graz, Steiermark: Steinfeldfriedhof, Friedhofgasse 33 (B--177)

Karl Böhm was the son of a lawyer. He studied law and was promoted. But he aimed for a career as entered the conservatory in Graz to study piano and music theory. He continued his studies in Vienna, where Eusebius Mandyczewski was his teacher. In 1917 he started as rehearsal assistant in Graz and by 1920 he was senior conductor in that city. In 1921 Bruno Walter engaged him at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. In 1927 he married the singer Thea Lindhard. Also in 1927 he became musical director in Darmstadt. From 1931 to 1934 he held the same post at the Hamburg State Opera.

His first performance in Vienna took place in 1933 and in 1934 he succeeded Fritz Busch at the Semper Opera in Dresden. He didn't join the nazi party but publicly and privately he supported them. His willingness to succeed Busch may have been mostly career opportunism. In 1938 he first conducted at the Festspiele in Salzburg. From 1943 to 1945 he was the conductor of the State Opera in Vienna.

After the war, his denazification resulted in a work ban for two years. In 1948 he conducted "Don Giovanni" at La Scala in Milan. From 1950 to 1953 he conducted the German concerts at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In 1954 he returned to the Vienna State Opera and he led it until 1956. In 1957 he first conducted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and from 1962 to 1970 he conducted at the Bayreuth festival.

• Wife: Linhard, Thea

Related persons
• admired Höngen, Elisabeth

26/11/1937First performance of Robert Schumann's Violin Concerto. It was performed by Georg Kulenkampff and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Karl Böhm was the conductor. The manuscript had been given by Clara Schumann to Joseph Joachim. Joachim had stated in his will that it should not be performed until 1956, 100 years after Schumann's death. This was because he thought that the piece showed signs of Schumann's mental illness. Joachim's heirs gave permission for an earlier performance. [Joachim, Joseph][Schumann, Clara][Schumann, Robert]
15/10/1938Premiere of the opera "Daphne" by Richard Strauss at the Hofoper in Dresden. The libretto was by Joseph Gregor and Karl Böhm was the conductor. Helene Jung sang the part of Gaea. [Strauss, Richard]
13/4/1940Premiere of the opera "Romeo und Julia" by Heinrich Sutermeister in Dresden. It took place at the State Opera in Dresden. The opera was dedicated to Karl Böhm who was the conductor. It was directed by Mas Hofmüller and Maria Cebotari sang the part of Julia. [Cebotari, Maria]


The grave of Karl Böhm and Thea Linhard at the Steinfeldfriedhof, Graz.
Picture by Androom (08 Aug 2018)


The grave of Karl Böhm and Thea Linhard at the Steinfeldfriedhof, Graz.
Picture by Androom (08 Aug 2018)


• Hellwig, Gerhard, Der Neue Opern-, Operetten- und Musical Führer, Aktualiseerte Neuauflage, Gomdrom, Bindlag, 1994
Karl Böhm – Wikipedia
Georg Kulenkampff – Wikipedia

Bohnen, Michael

Published: 09 Dec 2018
Last update: 08 Jan 2023