Erik Nitsche: Wilhelm Furtwangler
Artist: Erik Nitsche
A master interpreter of nineteenth century music, Wilhelm Furtwangler's compositional and directorial skills showed a loving admiration for Romanticism. As a director, his performances were never routine, revealing a conscientious, yet joyful, approach to music. Wilhelm Furtwangler was born on January 25, 1886, the son of well-known archeologist Professor Adolph Furtwangler. Encouraged by his young son's interest in music, Professor Furtwangler allowed Wilhelm to begin formal studies at age seven. His instructors included such respected teachers as Anton Beer-Walbrun, Joseph von Rheinberger, Max von Schillings and Conrad Ansorge. At first, Wilhelm only wanted to compose, but, at twenty, he discovered his directing talent, marking a turning point in his life. He began his international career as a director under Felix Mottl in Munich. Later, he conducted in Strasbourg, Lubeck, Mannheim, Vienna, Frankfurt and Berlin. When Director Arthur Nikesch died in 1922, two of the most desirable directorial positions in Germany became available: in Leipzig at the Gewandhaus, and in Berlin at the First Philharmonic Orchestra. Furtwangler succeeded to both positions. He later became director of the Bayreuth Festival and the Salzburg Festival. Until his death in 1954, Wilhelm Furtwangler was considered the preeminent German conductor.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the Germany 80pf Wilhelm Furtwangler stamp issued February 13, 1986.
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