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Ferdinand Grossmann (Choral Conductor)

Born: July 4, 1887 - Tullin, Austria
Died: December 5, 1970 - Vienna, Austria

The famous Austrian choral conductor, vocal teacher, and composer, Ferdinand Grossmann, studied music in Linz/Upper Austria. Some years later in Vienna he attended a class of conducting given by Felix Weingartner. Grossmann's family originated in part from the idyllic town of Gmunden on the verge of the Salzkammergut a short journey South of Linz.

In 1923, with the age of 36 Ferdinand Grossmann founded the Volkskonservatorium in Vienna. Four years later in 1927 Viktor Maiwald founded the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor. Upon his death in 1931, Grossmann, who had in the interim risen to fame, was called upon to head the Konzertvereinigung as their director. Fortunately Clemens Krauss, the director of the Vienna State Opera, showed much understanding for the plans of the Konzertvereinigung. In 1935 Felix Weingartner became new director of the Vienna State Opera, and Grossmann worked successfully together with Arturo Toscanini, Josef Krips, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Hans Knappertsbusch. Then he won the Grand Prix at the choral competition during the Paris World exhibition under the batton of Bruno Walter with the Konzertvereinigung. In 1940 Grossmann finally terminated his work with the Konzertvereinigung since he had just taken on the challenging responsibility of running the Wiener Sängerknaben in the year before. With the "Zusammenbruch" at the end of World War II operations with the Wiener Sängerknaben were temporarily suspended.

In 1946 Ferdinand Grossmann organized the Chamber Chorus of the Vienna Academy of Music and he toured with the choir within Europe and America. He composed a Germann Mass for Chorus (1952). In 1956 Grossmann took over the Chorus Viennensis from its founder Josef Schnitt, who had been Rector of the Burgkapelle at the time. The Chorus Viennensis is a male choir only consisting of former members of the Wiener Sängerknaben being intended to compliment the boys' choir. At the age of 76 Grossmann retired from his official duties.

Kurt Equiluz, long time tenor at the Vienna State Opera, summed it all up by commenting "the many years of singing under this wonderful director of the Vienna Boys Choir has filled me with unspeakable wealth".

Source: Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); Tom Frinta (September 2001)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2001) & Tom Frinta (September 2001)

Ferdinand Grossmann: Short Biography | Wiener Akademie Kammerchor | Recordings of Vocal Works

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