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WOLFGANG SAWALLISCH

Sawallisch began to learn the piano at the age of five, studying theory and composition while still at school and subsequently becoming a pupil of Ruoff, Haas, and Sache in Munich, prior to joining the German army in 1942; following the end of World War II he completed his musical studies at the Munich High School for Music. He then joined the Augsburg Opera in 1947 as a répétiteur, and with the violinist Gerhard Seitz won the first prize for duo performances at the Geneva International Music Competition in 1949. Having made his début as a conductor with Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel in 1950 at Augsburg, he shortly afterwards became first conductor there. He was Germany’s youngest general music director on his appointment to head the Aachen Opera in 1953, and was later recruited to the same post at Wiesbaden in 1958 and at Cologne in 1960. He also taught conducting at the Cologne Conservatory. Sawallisch conducted annually at the Bayreuth Festival from 1957 to 1961, opening the 1957 Festival with Tristan und Isolde. In the same year he made his English débuts as both an accompanist, with the soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and as a conductor, with her husband Walter Legge’s Philharmonia Orchestra. Legge also engaged him to make several important recordings, notably the first commercial release of Richard Strauss’s final opera, Capriccio.

In 1960, in addition to his appointment at Cologne, Sawallisch became chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and in 1961 of the Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra, retaining both positions until 1970 and touring America successfully with the Vienna Symphony in 1964. He succeeded Paul Kletzki as chief conductor of the Suisse Romande Orchestra in 1972, having been appointed the previous year as chief conductor of the Bavarian State Opera. He led this company on another successful tour, to London in 1972, and remained at its head until 1992, making numerous recordings, notably of lesser-known works by Wagner and Richard Strauss.

In 1990, Sawallisch was named as the chief conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra in succession to Riccardo Muti, taking up this appointment in 1993. He relinquished the position in 2003 following the death of his wife, but continued to appear with the orchestra as a most-welcome guest. In addition to his permanent posts, Sawallisch had an active career as a guest conductor with the world’s leading orchestras, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, and the Orchestre National de Radio France in Paris, and conducted regularly at La Scala, Milan. He was especially popular in Japan, where he appeared regularly with the NHK Symphony Orchestra. Sawallisch was a conservative, ‘no-nonsense’ conductor whose platform style was economical and clear. His interpretations were grounded firmly on a complete understanding of the Austro-German school of composers, of which he was a pre-eminent interpreter.

His discography is large and distinguished, and his recordings of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner, Dvořák, Richard Strauss and Hindemith may be recommended without hesitation in both studio and live incarnations.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Conductors, Naxos 8.558087–90).

View by Role: Classical Artist | Conductor
Role: Classical Artist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 

Role: Conductor 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
BLENDINGER, H.: Clarinet Concerto, Op. 72 / Media in vita (Donath, Becht, Schöneberger, Bavarian State Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C006061A
Choral - Secular
BRAHMS, J.: Deutsches Requiem (Ein) (M. Price, T. Allen, Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C039101A
Choral - Sacred
BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 1 (1877 Linz version, ed. R. Haas) (Bavarian State Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C145851A
Orchestral
BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 5 (Bavarian State Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C241911A
Orchestral
BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 6 (ed. L. Nowak) (Bavarian Radio Symphony, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C024821A
Orchestral
BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 9 (original 1894 version, ed. L. Nowak) (Bavarian State Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C160851A
Orchestral
DEUTSCHE OPER BERLIN - 100 Years (1912-2012) (6-DVD Box Set) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107522
Opera DVD
FURTWÄNGLER, W.: Symphony No. 3 (Bavarian State Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C406961B
Orchestral
HENZE: Prinz von Homburg (Der) (PAL) Arthaus Musik
100164
Opera DVD
HINDEMITH, P.: When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom'd (Requiem) (Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna Symphony, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C112851A
Choral - Sacred
MOZART, W.A.: Così fan tutte [Opera] (Price, Fassbaender, W. Brendel, Schreier, Grist, T. Adam, Bavarian State Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C918182I
Opera
MOZART, W.A.: Don Giovanni [Opera] (R. Raimondi, K. Moll, M. Price, H. Winkler, J. Várady, Bavarian State Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C846153D
Opera
Opera Arias (Soprano): Bjoner, Ingrid - VERDI, G. / PUCCINI, G. / BEETHOVEN, L. van / WAGNER, R. Orfeo
C735091B
Opera
Opera Arias (Soprano): Popp, Lucia - STRAUSS, R. / MOZART, W.A. / BEETHOVEN, L. van / NICOLAI, O. / PUCCINI, G. Orfeo
C580031B
Opera
Opera Arias (Soprano): Várady, Julia - MOZART, W.A. / STRAUSS, R. / WAGNER, R. / VERDI, G. (1975-1992) Orfeo
C579041B
Opera
Opera Overtures - WAGNER, R. / VERDI, G. / MOZART, W.A. / BEETHOVEN, L. van / BRAHMS, J. (Bavarian State Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C161871A
Orchestral
Orchestral Music - STRAUSS II, J. / STRAUSS, Josef / STRAUSS I, J. (Johann Strauss Festkonzert) (Vienna Symphony, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C236901A
Orchestral
PFITZNER, H.: Palestrina / Das Käthchen von Heilbronn / Die Rose vom Liebesgarten (Bavarian Radio Symphony, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C168881A
Orchestral
PUCCINI, G.: Gianni Schicchi [Opera] (Sung in German) (Fischer-Dieskau, Schary, Bavarian State Opera Chorus, Bavarian State Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C546001B
Opera
ROSSINI, G.: Mosè in Egitto [Opera] (Vaness, Soffel, Araíza, Raimondi, Moll, Bavarian State Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C514992I
Opera
STRAUSS, R.: Arabella [Opera] (Várady, Fischer-Dieskau, Donath, Berry, Bavarian State Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C169882H
Opera
STRAUSS, R.: Capriccio (Schwarzkopf, Wachter, Gedda, Fischer-Dieskau, Hotter, Ludwig, Philharmonia Orchestra, Sawallisch) (1957-1958) Naxos Historical
8.112034-35
Opera
STRAUSS, R.: Frau ohne Schatten (Die) (Aichi Prefectural Art Theater, 1992) (NTSC) TDKDVD
DVWW-OPFROS
Opera DVD
STRAUSS, R.: Frau ohne Schatten (Die) (Bavarian State Opera, 1992) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107245
Opera DVD
STRAUSS, R.: Horn Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / BEETHOVEN, L. van: Piano Quintet in E-Flat Major (Brain, Philharmonia, Sawallisch) (1955-1956) Naxos Classical Archives
9.81007
Concertos
STRAUSS, R.: Richard Strauss Collection (The) (11 DVD Box Set) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107539
Opera DVD
STRAUSS, R.: Schweigsame Frau (Die) [Opera] (Grist, Mödl, McDaniel, Grobe, Böhme, Bavarian State Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C516992I
Opera
STRAUSS, R.: Sonatina No. 2, "Fröhliche Werkstatt" (Munich Wind Academy, soloists, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C004821A
Wind Ensemble/Band Music
STRAVINSKY, I.: Firebird Suite (The) / The Firebird Suite (arr. E. Naoumoff for piano) (Naoumoff, Vienna Symphony, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C044831A
Orchestral
VERDI, G.: Don Carlos (Deutsche Oper, Berlin, 1965) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
101621
Opera DVD
Vocal Recital: Fischer-Dieskau, Dietrich - MENDELSSOHN, Felix / SCHUMANN, R. / PFITZNER, H. / WALTER, B. / WOLF, H. (Eichendorff Lieder) Orfeo
C185891B
Vocal
WAGNER, R.: Feen (Die) / Das Liebesverbot / Rienzi [Operas] (Bavarian State Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C688139Y
Opera
WAGNER, R.: Feen (Die) [Opera] (Gray, Alexander, Anderson, Studer, Hermann, Rootering, Orth, Lövaas, Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C062833F
Opera
WAGNER, R.: Liebesverbot (Das) [Opera] (Hass, Coburn, Schunk, Engen, Bavarian State Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C345953D
Opera
WAGNER, R.: Rienzi [Opera] (Studer, Kollo, J. Janssen, Rootering, Brinkmann, Bavarian State Opera Chorus, Bavarian State Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C346953D
Opera
WAGNER, R.: Tannhäuser [Opera] (V. de los Angeles, Bumbry, Windgassen, Fischer-Dieskau, Greindl, Bayreuth Festival Chorus and Orchestra, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C888143D
Opera
WEBER, C.M. von: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 (Bavarian Radio Symphony, Sawallisch) Orfeo
C091841A
Orchestral





 
 
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