Wilhelm Furtwängler, bust by Alexander Archipenko

Peter Adamik2015

Berliner Philharmoniker

Berliner Philharmoniker
Berlin, Germany

Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886–1954) succeeded Arthur Nikisch as conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic (Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester) in 1922. Unlike his predecessor he immediately became a champion of the contemporary repertoire, which, after
Hitler seized power, aroused the Nazis’ displeasure. And yet the regime held Furtwängler in high esteem as a conductor, although he never joined the Party and regarded himself as apolitical. In 1945 he was banned from conducting by the Allies, but in a 1947 tribunal he was de-Nazified and thus able once again
to conduct the Berliner Philharmoniker. It was not until 1952, however, that he was officially reinstated as the orchestra’s chief conductor, a position he held until his death two years later.


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