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Georg Tintner

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Biography

Born in Vienna, conductor Georg Tintner was a direct heir to the great tradition of nineteenth century musicianship, studying conducting in the 1930s with Felix Weingartner and music composition with Joseph Marx. Beginning his professional career at 12 as a member of the Vienna Boys Choir, Tintner accepted his first job as a conductor at the Vienna Volksoper at the tender age of 19. Tintner's career was barely underway when Hitler annexed Austria, displacing the 20-year-old rising star and making him a refugee from his homeland -- he would never return to live in Vienna. Tintner doesn't turn up until 1945, and then in Auckland, New Zealand, where he led the Auckland String Players until the mid-'50s. From there he moved to Australia, where he was based for the next 30 years, conducting the National Opera and Australian Opera and leading the first televised operas in Australian history. In the 1966-1967 season Tintner served as resident conductor of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra in South Africa. In the late 1960s Tintner made his first appearances in London with the Sadler's Wells Opera. Tintner's command of operatic repertory was enormous, and he conducted two-thirds of the works he undertook from memory. In 1987 Tintner moved to Canada in order to accept the position of leader of the Nova Scotia Symphony Orchestra, beginning the last, and greatest, chapter of his life. His concerts were now regularly being broadcast by the CBC and Tintner began to record prolifically for CBC Records and for Naxos. This established interest anew in the now 70-something conductor, and in 1993 Tintner was awarded the Silver Cross of Honor by the city and province of Vienna, one of many awards and distinctions accorded to Tintner late in life. Tintner also conducted in the United States for the first time, leading the Michigan Opera Theater in Detroit. The pain and infirmity brought on by a lengthy bout with cancer ultimately proved too much for the conductor, who at age 82 managed to propel himself from the 11th story of his apartment building in Halifax, ending his life. Tintner's complete cycle of the symphonies of Bruckner for Naxos are magnificent; combining a sense of experience, control, authority, and seemingly endless patience. Although known for his success in big classical works, Tintner was able to establish a sense of intimacy in his music making that was unique, and often spoke from the podium, one on one, to his audiences. For its part, Naxos has established a Georg Tintner Memorial Edition, re-releasing his recordings from both their catalog and that of CBC in addition to some live concerts taken from broadcasts; so far it has totaled 12 volumes, containing many truly great and worthwhile performances.

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