Hans Lange (conductor)

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Hans Lange (born February 17, 1884 in Constantinople , † August 13, 1960 in Albuquerque ) was a German-American violinist and conductor . He was the eldest son of the Ottoman court conductor Paul Lange and was conductor of several large orchestras in the USA , a. a. as assistant to Arturo Toscanini at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra . In the 1950s he built the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra as one of the most important commercial orchestras in the USA at the time.


Lange began studying the violin in Constantinople at the age of five and performed publicly for the first time at the age of seven. Long after his training a. a. in Prague, and after engagements in Germany, a. a. in Bielefeld, in 1923 to the USA, where he completely rebuilt his career after the German ensemble with which he had toured in the USA had been dissolved there.

1927–1936: Assistant to Toscanini at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra

From 1927 he worked at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, first as a violinist, then also as conductor and assistant to Arturo Toscanini . Toscanini directed the orchestra from 1928 to 1936 in addition to his numerous engagements in Europe. For a long time, however, he also worked as a freelance conductor and made recordings, among others. a. with the famous Wagner soprano Kirsten Flagstad . On November 20, 1935, Lange performed the "Afro-American Symphony" by William Grant Still for the first time, a piece by an Afro-American composer with one of the " Big Five ", the leading classical orchestras in the USA at the time. In 1937 Lange included this piece in the program of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Before his engagement in Chicago, Lange briefly represented Artur Rodziński in March 1936 as conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra , the third of the five leading orchestras in the USA (" Big Five "), of which Lange was a conductor. For a long time the New York audience not only opened up Afro-American classical music, but also the classical world of Latin America. On February 8 and 9, 1934, he conducted the New York Philharmonic with the Brazilian soloist Guiomar Novaes .

1936–1946: Conductor at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO)

After Toscanini finally moved to the USA in 1936 and became head of the NBC Symphony Orchestra in New York, Lange joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the same year , where he was Associate Conductor under Friedrich August Stock until 1943 , then under Désiré Defauw as conductor until 1946 .

In August 1937, Lange conducted a performance by the violinist Jascha Heifetz with the CSO. The concert in Grant Park was one of the first in a long series of appearances with international stars in Chicago. Much of Lange's appearances are documented in the Chicago Tribune by the reviews of music and theater critic Claudia Cassidy and Albert Goldberg. Cassidy was legendary for her notorious verrisse, especially in her regular column "From the aisle", which includes Rafael Kubelík , Georg Solti and the above. Desire Dufauw fell victim, but was a great journalistic supporter of Lange. Albert Goldberg was also a supporter of Lange. Shortly after Lange's engagement in Chicago had ended, he moved to the Los Angeles Times , where he was one of America's most famous music critics from 1947 until his death in 1990. However, neither Cassidy nor Goldberg could prevent Defauw from becoming chief conductor of the CSO in 1943 instead of Lange. For a long time, old friends such as Hindemith, who had worked with him as a violinist in the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra, viewed his musical abilities rather critically.

On March 3 and 4, 1938, Lange performed with Paul Hindemith as conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. For Hindemith, who initially fled the Nazis to Turkey, the country of his birth and who had built up the Conservatory in Ankara, this was the debut with the CSO. Lange and Hindemith performed together and alternately performed works by the guest and by Mozart (Symphony No. 39).

Hans Lange performed several times in Chicago with the violinist Yehudi Menuhin : On November 9 and 10, 1939 and April 14, 1942, the CSO played the Violin Concerto in D major op. 77 by Johannes Brahms .

As at January 15, 1940 Walter Liberace (and style model of the most famous Turkish singer and musician of the 20th century, later a superstar in the US Zeki Muren ), his only public concert with the CSO in the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee , Wisconsin was, , Hans Lange was the conductor.

On May 12, 1940, Lange recorded Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 Opus 73 with the CSO and the Polish-American pianist Józef Hofmann . The recording (approx. 35 min) has been preserved in its entirety and is available on a CD edition from the CSO, as well as on piano anthologies by the pianist Hofmann.

On January 9, 1941, Lange recorded Dvořák's Cello Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Emanuel Feuermann . The recording has also been preserved and was recently available again on CD.

In the summer of 1942, Lange was involved in the preparation of Shostakovich's 7th Symphony (Leningrad) in Chicago, which premiered in the Midwest on August 22, 1942, less than six months after its world premiere in the Soviet Union (the US premiere took place under the baton of Lange's former boss Arturo Toscanini in New York on July 19). After the sudden death of Stock on October 20, 1942, Lange took over all remaining performances of the CSO for the orchestra season 1942/43, including performances of the Leningrad Symphony.

On November 27, 1942, the Chicago Tribune reported on a performance by the pianist Artur Schnabel with the CSO under the direction of Hans Lange.

On January 12, 1943, Lange led a guest performance by the violinist Fritz Kreisler at the CSO, and on April 15 a performance by the Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau .

In the spring of 1943, the Belgian Desire Defauw was unexpectedly appointed as Stock's successor as Chief Conductor of the CSO, much to the disappointment of Lange, who had temporarily taken over the role of Chief Conductor of the CSO after Stock's death and figured there were chances of his successor.

In April 1946, the management of the CSO announced that Lange's contract would not be renewed.

1946–1960: Development of new professional orchestras in Ohio and New Mexico

From 1946 to 1949 Lange worked in Toledo (Ohio) , where he directed the "Friends of Music Orchestra", which from 1951 became the Toledo Symphony Orchestra , which still exists today . Toscanini brought him back to New York on April 13, 1947, for four concerts with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, which he directed at the time. It is not known whether there are sound recordings of these performances.

In 1950, Lange became Music Director of the Albuquerque Civic Symphony (now the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra ), which shortly before, in November 1948, had made music history with the world premiere of Schönberg's work A Survivor from Warsaw . Lange converted the amateur ensemble into one of the best professional philharmonic orchestras in the USA today. The NMSO had to file for bankruptcy in 2011, 60 years after it was founded by Lange. However, Hans Lange's legacy lives on in today's New Mexico Philharmonic , which emerged from the NMSO.

The American composer Leon Stein was a student of Hans Lange.


  • Dvořák , Cello Concerto op.104 , Chicago Symphony Orchestra , conductor: Hans Lange, soloist: Emanuel Feuermann (cello), recording date: Chicago, January 9, 1941: West Hill Radio Archives, USA (available on CD)
  • Beethoven , Piano Concerto No. 5 Opus 73 , Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conductor: Hans Lange, soloist: Jozef Hofmann (piano)
  • The Complete Josef Hofmann Vol 7 - Great Concerto Performances - Marston 52037, Release Date: 03/01/2002, Number of Discs: 2
  • Wagner: Arias / Kirsten Flagstad - Label: Newton Classics Catalog: 8802090 Release Date: 11/15/2011 Number of Discs: 1
  • Prima Voce - Divas Vol 2 (1909-1940) - Label: Nimbus Catalog: 7818 Release Date: 12/02/1992 Number of Discs: 1
  • Prima Voce - Kirsten Flagstad - Label: Nimbus Catalog: 7847 Release Date: 12/02/1992 Number of Discs: 1
  • Kirsten Flagstad - The Great Arias - Beethoven, Weber ua - Label: Pearl Catalog: 34 Release Date: 07/20/1999 Number of Discs: 1
  • Living Past - Kirsten Flagstad - Label: Preiser Records Catalog: 89141 Release Date: 05/20/1997 Number of Discs: 1
  • Richard Wagner On Record - Label: Preiser Records Catalog: 89404 Release Date: 07/04/1998 Number of Discs: 4
  • Wagner: Arias & Duets / Kirsten Flagstad, Lauritz Melchior - Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal Catalog: 7915 Release Date: 04/19/1990 Number of Discs: 1

See also


  1. a b Milwaukee Sentinel, Sep. 16, 1936, German conductor scales high in American music
  2. Music: Lange's own: TIME November 25, 1935
  3. Program of Concert at November 20th 1935: NY Phil Artefact 2187 ( Memento of the original from March 27, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archives.nyphil.org
  4. ^ Smith, Catherine Parsons. William Grant Still: A Study in Contradictions. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, c2000 2000. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft1h4nb0g0/ P. 254, letter of W Grant Still to Irving Schwerke, May 17, 1937
  5. Bispo, AA "Alemães na vida musical do Império Osmano ea emigração de" alemães do Bósporo "ao Novo Mundo: Paul Lange (1857-1919), Hans Lange (1884-1960) e Guiomar Novaes (1895-1979)". Revista Brasil-Europa: Correspondência Euro-Brasileira 144/15 (2013: 4). link
  6. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1937/08/29/page/3/article/concert-crowds-to-hear-heifetz-violin-tonight ; http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1937/08/30/page/4/article/heifetz-plays-and-vast-park-throng-cheers
  7. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1943/05/02/page/127/article/music-critic-answers-some-letters-of-criticism ; http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1944/04/02/page/114/article/on-the-aisle
  8. Hindemith wrote on April 20, 1942 in a letter about Lange: "Lange managed quite well, but he is still the small, very limited musician, to whom not even years of playing with the New York Philharmonic and a post as Toscanini's assistant has imparted a broader style. " (Selected letters of Paul Hindemith, ed. And translated by Geoffrey Skelton), Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0300064513 , p. 104
  9. Introducing The Paul Hindemith Principal Viola Chair: From the CSO Rosenthal Archives online
  10. Remembering Yehudi Menuhin: CSO From The Archives, April 22, 2016 ( Link )
  11. ^ Before the candelabra: Liberace's only performance with the CSO in 1940: From the CSO Rosenthal Archives Online
  12. Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony in Chicago: CSO - from the archives ( Online )
  13. Chicago Tribune, 11/27/1942: Schnabel plays superbly with Symphony
  14. Chicago Tribune 01/13/1943: Fritz Kreisler works magic again on the violin
  15. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1943/04/16/page/21/article/claudio-arrau-chilean-pianist-is-final-soloist-with-symphony
  16. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1943/02/21/page/98/article/engagement-of-defauw-a-surprise-to-chicagoans ;
  17. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1946/04/04/page/23/article/defauw-rehired-for-season-hans-langes-post-abolished ; http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1946/05/26/page/182/article/lange-makes-farewell-appearance-this-afternoon ; http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1946/05/27/page/23/article/lange-receives-warm-tribute-in-last-concert ; http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1946/03/01/page/23/article/on-the-aisle
  18. ^ Toledo Blade: Hans Lange to conduct Toscanini Orchestra on Sunday, April 11, 1947
  19. ^ Toledo Blade, August 17th, 1960: Orbituary - Hans Lange remembered in Toledo
  20. http://www.abqjournal.com/100217/entertainment/arts/crescendo.html
  21. http://nmphil.org/