Fritz Reiner

Great Conductors: Fritz Reiner

My ongoing studies of great conductors have led me to admire Fritz Reiner a lot. He was born on December 19, 1888 in Hungary, and he studied with composer Bela Bartok. He also worked with Richard Strauss. Quite a heritage, really. He died in New York on November 15th, 1963 at the age of 74.

Mr. Reiner came to the US in 1922 to take the post of Principal Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He remained until 1931, having become a naturalized citizen in 1928, then began to teach at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his pupils included Leonard Bernstein and Lukas Foss.

Reiner also conducted operas at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

I own a treasured recording of Reiner as he conducts the Tchaikovsky Violin concerto with Jascha Heifetz. Amazing performance by all!

My admiration of  Fritz Reiner centers on the following factors:

o Conducting precision

o Conducting technique

o Economy of movement

o Small, powerful gestures

Note from the videos below his erect stature, his CLEAR beat of the tempo; Note his little use of the left hand. See his very clear cutoffs. Observe that he hardly has any body movements, as compared with, say, Georg Solti. And see the really effective cues he gives to orchestra players.

Yep… this man is always very serious. He does not smile often. But… as a leader… I think he’s excellent, as long as you, as a performer, know your stuff!

Watch now as Fritz Reiner Conducts Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. Click HERE


Fritz Reiner conducts Mozart: Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543; Adagio; click HERE


Tags: Conductors, Fritz Reiner, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

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