Fritz Stiedry

Fritz Stiedry

Fritz Stiedry (born October 11th 1883 in Vienna, died August 8, 1968 in Zurich) was an Austrian conductor.

While studying law at the University of Vienna, Stiedry's musical abilities were noticed by Gustav Mahler who appointed him his assistant at the Vienna Court Opera in 1907. This was followed by other assistant posts, leading to chief conductorships at the operas of Kassel and Berlin.

In 1933 Stiedry left Germany in response to the assumption of power by Adolf Hitler. From 1934 until 1937 Stiedry was principal conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. Stiedry was involved in rehearsals for the premiere of Shostakovich's "Fourth Symphony"; however the premiere was canceled for reasons that remain controversial. Some claim that Shostakovich felt Stiedry unable to deal with the symphony's complexities: however others say that the real reason was that Communist Party officials pressured the composer to withdraw the work. [] .

In 1937 Stiedry left Leningrad for the United States. He worked with the New Friends of Music Orchestra in New York, where he performed long-neglected works by Bach, Haydn and Mozart and premiered Schoenberg's "Second Chamber Symphony". From 1945 onwards, Stiedry returned to opera, conducting the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Metropolitan Opera of New York.

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