Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) began studying the piano at the age of
four and performed for the first time in public at a charity concert the
following year. Von Karajan studied at the Mozarteum
Von Karajan made his conducting debut in
He was the Artistic Director of both the Vienna State
Opera from 1957 until 1964 and the Salzburg Festival from 1956 until 1960. As
director of the Vienna State Opera, he also brought about an important collaboration
between the company and Teatro alla
Von Karajan’s long and distinguished recording career with the Berlin Philharmonic made him an international star. Over the years, these recordings consistently set new audio and musical standards against which other performances were judged. Among his many honours, Von Karajan received two Gramophone awards for recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1981: Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, best orchestral recording; and the complete Parsifal, record of the year.
Von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic toured the
world frequently and to great acclaim. In 1955, the orchestra made its first
Altogether between 1955 and 1982, Herbert von Karajan
and the Berlin Philharmonic played 105 concerts in the
From his early years as a conductor, he enjoyed a
distinguished association with the Vienna Philharmonic in hundreds of concerts
and recordings that also form an important part of the Von Karajan legacy. In
1959, he toured the world with the Vienna Philharmonic, including 10 concerts
Von Karajan also visited the
Throughout his career, Von Karajan championed the use
of visual media and new audio technology to enhance musical expression.
Beginning in 1965, Von Karajan produced films of concerts and operas in
association with French film director Henri-Georges Clouzot.
Always interested in improving the listening experience for his audience, Von
Karajan quickly adopted technological innovations. In January 1980, for
example, Von Karajan made the first digital recording of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and at the Salzburg Easter Festival on
Von Karajan founded Telemondial S.A.M. in 1982 to produce his complete repertoire again for video-disc, a new visual medium and an undertaking in which he had complete creative control of both vision and sound. In recognition of his achievements in the adoption of stereo sound in television and his commitment to the introduction of digital sound, Von Karajan was presented with the Eduard-Rhein-Ring by the founders of Hör zu magazine in 1984.
Von Karajan was the recipient of many honours and awards, including the “Médaille de Vermeil” in Paris, the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society in London (other conductors who have received this award include Arturo Toscanini, Sir Thomas Beecham and Bruno Walter), the Olympia Award of the Onassis Foundation in Athens and the UNESCO International Music Prize in 1983.