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Herbert von Karajan

AKA Heribert Ritter von Karajan

Born: 5-Apr-1908
Birthplace: Salzburg, Austria
Died: 16-Jul-1989
Location of death: Anif, Austria
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Anif Cemetery, Anif, Austria

Gender: Male
Religion: Buddhist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Conductor

Nationality: Austria
Executive summary: General music director of Europe

Considered one of the finest conductors of his time, at various times Herbert von Karajan led the Berlin Philharmonic, La Scala in Milan, London's Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival. He was also one of the wealthiest people in classical music (at the time of his death, Der Spiegel reported that he earned about $6M US annually in recording royalties), and one of the most controversial.

Karajan joined the Nazi Party in 1933, two years before Nazis took power in his native Austria, and he remained an outspoken supporter of Nazi policies, though his wife was a granddaughter of Jews. In the World War II "de-Nazification trials", he was prohibited from conducting for two years. At the height of his career he was commonly called "the general music director of Europe", but the controversy around his Nazi past never faded. When he visited New York in 1955 with the Berlin Philharmonic, he was greeted with protests, including the release of live pigeons during the performance.

He was known for his authoritarian streak, demanding the most of musicians and engaging in perpetual arguments with symphony management as he sought complete artistic control of all aspects of the music. Von Karajan conducted the recordings of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" and "The Blue Danube" that were heard in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, and in his latter years he was an ardent student of Zen.

Father: Ernst von Karajan (physician)
Mother: Martha Kosmac von Karajan
Wife: Elmy Holgeroef (soprano, m. 15-Jun-1932, div. 1940)
Wife: Anna Maria Sauest ("Anita Guetermann", m. 2-Oct-1942, div. 1958, d. 1985)
Mistress: Mary Roblee (Vogue reporter, affair 1950s)
Wife: Eliette Mouret (French fashion model, m. 6 Oct-1958, two children)
Daughter: Isabel Karajan (actress, b. 1960)
Daughter: Arabelle Karajan (b. 1964)

    High School: Humanistisches Gymnasium, Salzburg, Austria (1926)
    University: Vienna College of Technology
    University: Vienna Academy for Music and the Performing Arts
    University: Mozarteum University of Salzburg
    University: Philosophy, University of Vienna

    Orchestre de Paris Music Advisor (1969-71)
    Vienna State Opera Music Director (1956-64)
    Berlin Philharmonic Principal Conductor (1954-89)
    Vienna Symphony Principal Conductor (1948-60)
    Berlin State Opera Music Director (1939-45)
    National Socialist German Workers Party (1935-42)

Official Website:

Author of books:
My Autobiography (1989, memoir)

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