Tanglewood Tales: Leinsdorf's Exit Interview

Erich Leinsdorf

Erich Leinsdorf

"No piece of music presented a problem. Benjamin Britten's 'War Requiem,' of which we gave the American premiere, was taken apart and put together with the skill of a musical architect."

- Harry Ellis Dickson, Boston Symphony Orchestra violinist, on conductor Erich Leinsdorf

In 1962, the Boston Symphony Orchestra welcomed Austrian conductor Erich Leinsdorf to Symphony Hall as the orchestra's new music director. The previous 13 years with the mercurial Charles Munch as music director were in some ways magical and in others problematic.

Classical New England's Brian Bell tells the story of Leinsdorf's career with the BSO in an audio documentary.

Hear Part 1

Hear Part 2
Leinsdorf brought a new emphasis on discipline, clarity, and detail in the ensemble's playing. His background as an assistant to Bruno Walter and Arturo Toscanini, as well as extensive work with the Metropolitan Opera, gave him the basis for new programmatic directions with the BSO. He also took a very active role as the leader of the Tanglewood Music Center, and it was during his tenure that the Boston Symphony Chamber Players were founded.

Leinsdorf's tenure was not always smooth, but by the time he left the BSO in 1969, the organization was transformed. At Tanglewood that summer, before his final concert as music director, he talked with WGBH's Jordan Whitelaw, an interview you can watch here in three parts, with introductions by Classical New England's BSO broadcast host, Ron Della Chiesa.

Part 1: Highlights of Leinsdorf's years at the BSO

Part 2: Music in the media, including television

Part 3: The future of contemporary music

Video of Jordan Whitelaw's interview with Erich Leinsdorf courtesy of WGBH Archives.



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