Herbert von Karajan
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About Herbert von Karajan
Austrian-born maestro Herbert von Karajan was appointed principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic in 1956—a post he held for 34 years, until his death in 1989.
∙ In 1954, von Karajan began recording his first complete set of Beethoven symphonies, a feat that he would later repeat three times—and that one no other conductor has accomplished.
∙ His interpretations of Johann Strauss’ “Blue Danube” and Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra” play an iconic role in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
∙ The first-ever CD—a test pressing in 1981—was Richard Strauss’ Eine Alpensinfonie, as performed under von Karajan’s direction.
∙ Von Karajan’s epic Beethoven complete symphonies cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic earned a Gold record in 1977.
∙ Nominated for 40 Grammy Awards, the he won 3, including 2 for Best Opera Recording.
∙ The conductor’s sold-out, four-night run at Carnegie Hall in 1982 was attended by a host of musical luminaries, including Frank Sinatra and Zubin Mehta.
∙ In 2011, von Karajan was ranked No. 4 on BBC Music Magazine’s list of the 20 Greatest Conductors of All Time.
- Apr 5, 1908