Franz Konwitschny

Franz Konwitschny (14 August 1901, Fulnek, Moravia – 28 July 1962, Belgrade) was a German conductor and violist of Moravian descent.

Franz Konwitschny
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-41810-0001, Franz Konwitschny.jpg
Born(1901-08-14)14 August 1901
Died28 July 1962(1962-07-28) (aged 60)


He started his career on the viola,[1] playing in the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Wilhelm Furtwängler. In 1925, he moved to Vienna, where he played the viola with the Fitzner Quartet. He also began teaching at the Wiener Volkskonservatorium. He later became a conductor, joining the Stuttgart Opera in 1927.

During the World War II years he was chief conductor in the Frankfurt Opera.[2] In the late war years 1943-1944 he was chief conductor of the orchestra in Ludwigshafen, today the Rhineland-Palatinate State Philharmonic.

East German careerEdit

From 1949 until his death he was principal conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. From 1953 until 1955 he was also principal conductor of the Dresden Staatskapelle and from 1955 onward he led the Berlin State Opera.

Like Furtwängler, Konwitschny used "expansive gestures" and had a "dislike of an exact beat."[1] Konwitschny recorded a complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies.

He was given the nickname Kon-whisky because of his heavy drinking habits.[3]

His first marriage to Maria Wilhelmine Josephine Hambloch (Gieser) produced two children, Franziska Hinzte (née Konwitschny) and Dieter Konwitschny. His son from his second marriage Peter Konwitschny is a leading opera director in Germany.[citation needed] He died suddenly of a heart attack during a rehearsal while on tour in Yugoslavia. Unsuaul for musical figures he was give a full state funeral.[4]

Gravesite of Franz Konwitschny at southern cemetery Leipzig



  1. ^ a b Schwinger
  2. ^ David Patmore, originally from 'A-Z of Conductors'
  3. ^ "Why conducting is a health hazard".
  4. ^ David Patmore, originally from 'A-Z of Conductors'

External linksEdit

  Media related to Franz Konwitschny at Wikimedia Commons

Cultural offices
Preceded by Music Director, Berlin State Opera
Succeeded by