Price: $150.00

Autographed 3” x  5” photograph of the “conductor’s conductor”


Swarovsky (1899 - 1975) had two distinct careers, that of an orchestral conductor and the other as one of the most sought after conducting pedagogues who attracted international pupils to the Vienna Conservatory.  Interestingly, he was conceived in Austria and his actress mother was sent to Budapest to give birth to hide the “family shame” of a pregnancy without a husband. His mother brought him back to Vienna three months later. Swarovsky studied first at the University of Vienna; he did not decide to become a conductor until 1920. Whilst in college he took piano lessons from Eduard Steurmann and Ferrucio Busoni.  The conductor studied conducting with Franz Schalk, Richard Strauss and Felix Weingartner and composition and theory with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern in Vienna at various schools and privately.  His first music job was as a repetiteur under Weingartner at the Vienna Staatsoper in 1922 and then the same position in Budapest in 1924.  In 1925 he was hired as 2nd Kapellmeister at the theater in the Schonbrunn Palace and also conducts his first operas at the Vienna Volksoper.  He is made a Kapellmeister at the Budapest Opera and also conducts in Stuttgart and other German and Austrian provincial houses for several years.  In 1932 he is made a conductor of the Hamburg Staatsoper, in 1934 the same at the Berlin Staatsoper.  He leaves for Zurich in 1937 and remains there until 1940 as first Kapellmeister of the Zurich Oper.  It would seem there were multiple issues that led to this,  a likelihood his unnamed father was Jewish (A man who had supported him during his youth.)  he had attempted to join the Free Masons and the Nazi’s when they raided the Lodge had record of his request for membership and a kerfuffle with Heinz Tietjen over his Jewish roots that went as high as Hermann Göring, who ended up supporting Swarovsky in the matter.   Swarovsky, due to the low pay in Zurich and with the help of Richard Strauss ends up going back to Germany in 1940 as a last resort, entirely uncomfortable with the return.  Strauss constantly pitches for him to conduct in major theaters and despite Göring’s approval of his case, Tietjen operates against him in the music world.  Even Strauss could  not easily help him, though he made every effort.  He succeeded at the end of 1940 to get him an unofficial “Chief Dramaturg position at the Munich Staatsoper and in 1943, he was made Chief Dramaturg of the Salzburg Festival.  In 1944 he was made Principal Conductor of the Krakow Philharmonic. He leaves Krakow in January, 1945 destined for Vienna.  He is named Generalmusikdirektor of the Stuttgart Oper in July.  By December he is banned from conducting until he is denazified.  By 1946 with the help of Herbert von Karajan, he is back in Vienna, busy conducting the Vienna Staatsoper, Volksoper and named Principal Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, as position he held until 1948.  From 1947-1950 he was the Generalmusikdirektor of the Graz Oper and from 1957-1959 he was the Principal Conductor of the Scottish National Orchestra. After 1959 he moved towards pedagogy and was named by Karajan a permanent conductor of the Vienna Staatsoper so he could conduct when he chose and accepted guest appearances as he wanted elsewhere.


At the Vienna Conservatory he began a program for conductors not unlike Liszt did for the piano and Auer did for the violin, attracting top conducting pupils from all over the world.  Some of his pupils included Claudio Abbado, Alexandre Alexeev, Gabriel Chmura, Ivan Fischer, Mariss Jansons, Jesus Lopez-Corbos, Zubin Mehta, Peter Schneider, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Bruno Weil among the many.  Even pianist Martha Argerich and baritone Bernd Weikl studied conducting with Swarovsky.         



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