“The Austrian-German conductor Michael Gielen, known for his championing of new music, has died in Mondsee, Austria,” reads an unsigned obituary in Saturday’s (3/9) Gramophone (U.K.). “His father was a theatre and opera director, his mother had been an actress…. After studying piano in Buenos Aires, where he also assisted Erich Kleiber, Karl Böhm and Wilhelm Furtwängler at the Teatro Colón, Gielen joined the Vienna State Opera as a répétiteur and conductor…. From 1960-65, he was a conductor at the Royal Swedish Opera, he then joined Netherlands Oper and Frankfurt Opera (1967-77)…. As a symphonic conductor, he held posts with the Belgian National Orchestra (1969-73), Cincinnati SO (1980-86) and SWR Symphony Baden-Baden and Freiburg (1986-89). He also served as a Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1978-81). He retired from conducting 2014…. He championed works by György Ligeti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Hans Werner Henze, Betsy Jolas, Isang Yun and Henri Pousseur, as well as earlier 20th-century masters…. He has attracted a loyal following for his interpretations of 19th and 20th century music…. As a composer, Gielen revealed his post-Second Viennese School leanings, and set many modernist poets.”

Posted March 13, 2019