Text Box: Conductor autographs


Price: $175.00



Phone: 212-860-5541


Autographed 3” x 5” photograph conducting a recording session.  This photograph comes from the collection of the legendary multiple Grammy winning British classical record producer James Mallinson.

Szenkar (1891-1977) was born in Budapest; his father was Nandor Szenkar a well known organist and conductor.  He was a child prodigy at both piano and conducting and his father pushed him along to perform in public.  He was sent to the Franz Liszt Academy in Budpest where he studied with Viktor v. Herzfeld, Ernö Dohnanyi and Hans Kessler.  After graduating in 1911, he was hired as a repetiteur at the Népopera, The People’s Opera at the new Erkel Theater. A year later he was hired at the Deutsches Theater in Prague as the chorus director and second conductor.  After a year he returned to Budapest to the Népopera as a conductor through the 1915 season.  He then took on a series of conducting positions in the German speaking world, Salzburg Mozarteum and Landestheater 1915-1916, Kapellmeister of Altenburg 1916-1920 where he first conducted Mahler in public, First conductor at Frankfurt AM Oper 1920-1923 where he met Bartok and became his supporter in Germany giving the German premieres of his opera “Bluebeard’s Castle” and Ballet “The Wooden Prince”.  From 1923-1924 he was appointed Generalmusikdirektor of the Volksoper in Berlin.  Whilst there he mounted one of the earliest performances of “Boris Godunov” to great acclaim.  When Otto Klemperer left the Cologne Opera in 1924, Szenkar was selected as his replacement. He gasve several German prmieres while there, most notably, Prokofiev’s “The Love for Three Oranges” and Kodaly’s “Hary Janos”.  In 1926, he led the World Premiere of Bartok’s “The Magnificent Mandarin” which caused a riot and Mayor Konrad Adenauer banned modern opera in Cologne.  That did not stop Szenkar exactly as he was also the Generalmusikdirektor of Cologne, so in his symphony concerts, he conducted Most of Mahler’s symphonies including the 8th and Schoenberg’s “Gurrelieder” with 1000 musicians and singers in the house.  He also took the Cologne Opera on tour of Vienna at the Staatsoper and two tours to Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colon.  In 1933 he was fired by the Nazi’s as he was Jewish and left Germany for Vienna, where it became apparent he would not be safe for long, so he accepted an invitation to go to Russia to conduct the Moscow State Philharmonic Orchestra and guest at the Bolshoi.  He also taught at the Moscow Conservatory where Kirill Kondrashin was his student.  Whilst in Moscow he led several World Premieres, Myaskovsky’s 16th Symphony, Khatchaturian’s 1st Symphony and Prokofiev’s Russian Overture.  He was exiled from Russia at the end of 1937 during Stalin’s Great Purge which included Jewish intellectuals. He arrived in Paris and lived there for a year, his most important “gig” was leading a Parisian tour of the then Palestine Symphony Orchestra.  In 1939 he wss invited to become a guest conductor of the Municipal Theater Opera in Rio de Janeiro which he accepted and was stranded there due to the outbreak of war in Europe.  In 1940 he founded the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra initiated after a tour of Toscanini’s NBC Orchestra went through town.  He led the orchestra through 1948. Toscanini invited him to conduct a series of concerts with the NBC Symphony in 1947. Szenkar conducted some 80 concerts a years there.  He returned to Paris in 1949.  In 1950 he was appointed Generalmusikdirektor of Mannheim and also was contracted for a number of performances with the Cologne operas.  From 1952 to 1956 he was the intendant of the Dusseldorf Opera and eventually the position of Generalmusikdirektor of the City.  He led the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra on a tour to London in 1958 and was given honorary membership in the Gustav Mahler Society for his work performing his symphonies at a time when few would present them to the public.  He retired from Dusseldorf in 1960.  His later years he conducted as a guest when he chose to conduct. He conducted a performance of “Carmen” on his 80th birthday in Cologne.

His recorded legacy with Mahler, including the 3rd and 4th symphonies.  His recording of the 3rd symphony was the second time it appeared on records.  Available along with the Mahler on CD, or download include Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, a complete recording of Kodaly’s “Hary Janos”, Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” and Puccini’s “La Boheme” in German and a particularly powerful rendition of Berlioz’s “Symphony Fantastique” and a Handel Concerto Grosso op. 6 #12.   He apparently did not enjoy the recording process, but there are numerous live radio performances yet to be issued.