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Carl Adolph Schuricht (Conductor)

Born: July 3, 1880 - Danzig (Gdansk), Germany/Poland
Died: January 7, 1967 - Corseaux-sur-Vevey, Switzerland

Few orchestra conductors from the great German school of conducting carved out quite such a niche for themselves as Carl Schuricht. This Polish-born German invented a clear, almost objective style of conducting, based on fast tempos and flexible, but cleanly articulated orchestral playing that became known over. Many modern conductors owe a lot to him, whether they acknowledge it or not. His career was not that of a star, but he was loved both by the orchestra members and audience.

Carl Adolph Schuricht was born into a family of organ builders, and began to study piano and violin at the age of 6. He started to compose at the age of 11, and had written the music and the librettos for two operas. He started to conduct at the age of 15. In 1901 he got first professional musical job as a choral coach (Korrepetitor) of the Stadttheater of Mainz. A year after he won a composition prize from Kuszynski Foundation and a scholarship was awarded him by Franz von Mendelssohn. It allowed him to continue his studies at the Berliner Musikhochschule (der Kgl. Hochschule für Musik in Berlin) under Ernst Rudorff for piano and Engelbert Humperdinck for composition, and later under Max Reger at Leipzig. In 1907 he became Operetten-Kapellmeister of the Zwickau Stadttheater. Two years later he was appointed to conduct the Rühlschen Oratorienchores (Rühlscher-Gesangverein) of Frankfurt am Main, succeeding Siegfried Ochs. In 1912, at the age of 31, Schuricht was appointed to be the music director of the Städtische Symphonieorchestra of Wiesbaden. A year after In September, he courageously conducted the first performance of Gustav Mahler's 8th Symphony in Wiesbaden (Exactly 3 years after the world premiere in Munich). During the 1910’s he was invited to conduct in London and debuted in La Scala, Milan.

In 1923 Carl Schuricht became the general music director of the Städtische Symphonieorchestra of Wiesbaden (until 1944). During those years he toured and conducted in Germany and abroad, including ‘First German Mahler Festival’ in Wiesbaden (1923), St. Louis (1927), Summer symphonic concerts in Scheveningen (1930-1939), London (1931). In 1933 he was nominated the director of the Berliner Philharmonischer Chor and a year after conducted Wiener Philharmoniker for the first time. Between 1937 and 1944 he was a principal guest conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. Between 1943 and 1944 he was a principal guest conductor of the Dresdner Philharmonie, and in 1944 was appointed to be its music director. At the autumn of 1944 he left Germany to stay in Switzerland on the lake of Geneva, and started to work with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

After Second World II, in 1946 Carl Schuricht conducted Wiener Philharmoniker at the re-opening of the Salzburg Festival. He was honoured to get Bruckner medals in 1948 and 1949 and in 1953 also became honorary citizen of Wiesbaden. In 1956 he conducted Wiener Philharmoniker for Furtwängler-Gedächtnis-Konzert at the Grossen Musikvereinssaal. At the same year he conducted all of L.v. Beethoven's symphonies at the Lyon Festival and conducted 12 concerts in total during the USA tour. In 1957 he was invited to conduct at the Chicago Symphony Festival at Ravinia, and also appeared as a guest conductor at the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood, Massachusetts, the summer residence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 1958, after the success of USA tour, Wiener Philharmoniker and Schuricht made another travel project, conducting a total of 10 concerts in Switzerland, France, Spain and Bregenz during a course of one month. In 1960, on his 80th birthday, Wiener Philharmoniker conferred upon him honorary membership.

During the 1960’s Carl Schuricht continued to conduct the Wiener Philharmoniker, and to participate is Salzburg Festival, and also to make guest appearances in London and Berlin. He gave his last concert with Wiener Philharmoniker at Salzburg Festival in 1965. Two years later, at the age of 86, he died in his home at Corseaux-sur-Vevey, Switzerland.



Source: Carl Schuricht Home Page; Liner notes to Dante CD LYS-176 (L’Heritage de Carl Schuricht Volume 6, 1997)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2001)

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