Walter, Bruno

BORN 15 Sep 1876, Berlin - DIED 17 Feb 1962, Beverly Hills, California
BIRTH NAME Schlesinger, Bruno
CAUSE OF DEATH heart attack
GRAVE LOCATION Gentilino, Collina d'Oro, Ticino: Cimitero di Sant'Abbondio, Via in Sacca 1 ((ashes))

Bruno Walter was born as Bruno Schlesinger into a Jewish family in Berlin. He started his musical education at the Stern Conservatory when he was eight years old and he publicly appeared as a pianist when he was nine. Robert Radecke taught him composition. but after he heard a concert conducted by Hans von Bülow in 1889 he decided that he wanted to be a conductor. In 1894 he debuted as a conductor in Cologne in Lortzing's "Der Waffenschmiedt". He moved on to Hamburg where he first met Gustav Mahler. In 1896 he became musical director of the municipal opera in Breslau and on request of Theodor Löwe he changed his name to Walter. He didn't like it, but Mahler urged him to give in.

In 1897 he was appointed chief conductor in Pressburg and in 1901 he became Mahler´s assistant at the Court Opera in Vienna. He conducted in many European cities. In 1911 he was with Mahler when he died. He became an Austrian citizen in 1911, but in 1913 he moved to Munich to become musical director of the Bavarian State Opera. In Munich he befrieded Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII. He was also a close friend of Thomas Mann.

In 1922 he resigned in Munich and he went to New York, where he worked with the New York Symphone Orchestra and also worked in other cities. From 1925 to 1929 he was musical direcotr of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. In 1926 he first conducted at La Scala in Milan and he appeared at Covent Garden in London from 1924 to 1931. He was the Principal Conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig from 1929 to 1933. After the nazis came to power he moved to Vienna with his family. When Austria was annexed he was in the Netherlands. In 1939 his daughter Gretel was murdered by her husband Robert Neppach because of her affair with opera singer Ezio Pinza. He killed himself as well.

He moved to the USA in November 1939. His daughter´s death permanently depressed his wife and she died in 1945. Walter worked with many orchestras in the USA and in 1942 he conducted Pinza in "Don Giovanni". This was questioned by some, but he didn't hold Pinza responsible for Gretel's death and after Pinza died in 1957 he was stilll in contact with Pinza's wife Dolores. Between 1958 and 1962 he made recordings with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra. He conducted his last concert on 4 December 1960 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 1962 he died of a heart attack at his home in Beverly Hills.

Related persons
• has a connection with Dermota, Anton
• cooperated with Lehmann, Lotte
• worked for Mahler, Gustav
• was teacher of Paumgartner, Bernhard
• was pupil of Radecke, Robert

20/5/1928Bruno Walter conducts Mahler's Fourth Symphony in Paris. It was his debut as a conductor in Paris. Renée Destanges sang the soprano part. [Mahler, Gustav]


The grave of Bruno Walter at the Cimitero di Sant'Abbondio in Gentilini, Ticino.
Picture by Androom (15 Feb 2019)


Wikipedia (EN):
De muzikale nalatenschap van Bruno Walter (1876-1962) - OpusKlassiek

Walters, Catherine 'Skittles'

Published: 01 Aug 2021
Last update: 03 Oct 2021