The “Conductor of the Century”
Herbert von Karajan was one of the most significant conductors of the 20th century. In 1967 he founded the Salzburg Easter Festival, which soon became an annual meeting place for opera lovers and music lovers from all over the world – especially for those who wanted to experience Karajan with “his orchestra”, the Berliner Philharmoniker, in an exclusive setting.
An Exceptional Artistic Personality
Much has been written of this “conductor of the century”. Born in Salzburg in 1908, Herbert von Karajan first conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1938, and from 1955 to 1989 he left his mark on it as its Chief Conductor. From 1948 to 1964 Karajan was also Concert Director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna and from 1957 to 1964 he was Artistic Director of the Vienna State Opera. From 1948 onwards he conducted at the Salzburg Festival, of which he was the Artistic Director from 1956 to 1960. In 1960 he conducted Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier at the opening night of the Grosses Festspielhaus and as conductor, opera director and member of the Directorate he continued to play a significant role in the artistic orientation of the Salzburg Festival until 1988. In 1967 von Karajan founded his own festival, the Salzburg Easter Festival, which he directed until his death in 1989.
Herbert von Karajan’s endeavour to attain artistic perfection, combined with his passion for technology, led him to make an impressive number of sound and video recordings. These feature some 800 works by 200 composers. The Herbert von Karajan Website and the Eliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute offer further information about Karajan’s discographic heritage and other aspects of his life and work. The Institute’s archives encompass, for example, a database of all his conducting engagements, along with reviews and programme booklets and information on all the known recordings and photos.