Obituary: conductor Gerd Albrecht, 78

Posted on: February 5, 2014

In Wednesday’s (2/5) Independent (London), Chris Maume writes that German conductor Gerd Albrecht died in Berlin on February 2. He was 78. “Albrecht led orchestras in the Czech Republic, Japan and Denmark and worked to bring music to children. He was a champion in particular of contemporary music, notably the works of Krzysztof Penderecki and Gyorgy Ligeti. He served as general music director at the Hamburg State Opera from 1988-97, and also served a controversial stint as the first foreign principal conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. He led the Czech orchestra from 1993 until he resigned in 1996, blaming ‘political narrow-mindedness’ following a dispute that underscored lingering tensions in Czech-German relations.… He had been appointed to help the orchestra achieve international acclaim, which he did, but many Czechs bristled at the idea of a foreigner, especially a German, heading a symbol of national pride.… Albrecht also served as principal conductor of the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra from 1997 to 2007 and led the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 2000 to 2004. He also wrote books for children and set up a foundation to help talented young musicians. He opened a Museum of Sound in Hamburg and launched a mobile music bus that travelled to schools.”

Posted February 5, 2014