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Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 5 April 1908Salzburg, Austria-Hungary [now Austria]
Date of Death 16 July 1989Anif, Salzburg, Austria
Birth NameHeribert Ritter von Karajan
Height 5' 9½" (1.77 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Herbert von Karajan was born on April 5, 1908 in Salzburg, Austria-Hungary as Heribert Ritter von Karajan. He was married to Eliette Mouret, Anita Gütermann and Elmy Holgeroef. He died on July 16, 1989 in Anif, Salzburg, Austria.

Spouse (3)

Eliette Mouret (6 October 1958 - 16 July 1989) (his death) (2 children)
Anita Gütermann (22 October 1942 - 1958) (divorced)
Elmy Holgeroef (26 July 1938 - ?) (divorced)

Trivia (11)

Perhaps the most controversial conductor of the 20th century, he is both admired and reviled for his insistence on technical perfection in an orchestra (often, his detractors say, at the expense of everything else, bringing a dehumanizing quality to his music-making). His wartime membership in the Nazi party has contributed a great deal to the unfavorable opinion some critics have of him. From 1955, when he became conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, until his death in 1989, he was well-known as the most powerful musical influence in Germany.
Father of Isabel Karajan (b. 1960) and Arabel (b. 1964), with Eliette.
Ardent proponent of advancing sound recording technology. He eagerly supported high-fidelity studio recording technology and actively encouraged Sony and Philips to commit to developing and marketing the compact disc in the early 1980s.
Historians and biographers have debated the validity of his membership in the National Socialist (Nazi) Party. However, most agree that his association with NSDAP Officers helped to advance his conducting career and ensure his success as a famous interpretive artist in postwar Europe.
He was originally supposed to have conducted the Maria Callas-Richard Tucker studio recording of Verdi's "Aida", but Tucker, who was Jewish, refused to work with Karajan because of his Nazi affiliations during WW II. Karajan was replaced by famous Italian conductor Tullio Serafin, and Tucker made the recording with Callas.
He is the only conductor to have recorded Bach's "Mass in B Minor" five times.
Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for thirty-five years - from 1954 until 1989.
Younger brother of Wolfgang (born in 1906).
Son of Ernest Theodor Emanuel (1868-1951) and Martha Kosmac (1881-1954).
Studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg between 1916 and 1926.
His great-great-grandfather Georgios Karajannis was born in the Ottoman province of Rumelia, today West Macedonia in Greece, and emigrated to Saxony, where his surname became "Karajan" (1792).

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