Herbert von Karajan

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Herbert von Karajan, 1963
Herbert von Karajan signature.JPG

Herbert von Karajan (born April 5, 1908 in Salzburg ; † July 16, 1989 in Anif , Salzburg ; born Heribert Ritter von Karajan , officially Heribert Karajan in Austria from 1919 ) was an Austrian conductor . As such, he is one of the best known and most important of the 20th century . Karajan worked with many prestigious symphony orchestras , worked at major opera houses and published numerous recordings of classical music.


Coat of arms of the von Karajan family, imperial nobility 1792
Herbert von Karajan's birthplace in Salzburg (2008)
Statue of Herbert von Karajan in the garden of the house where he was born

Herbert von Karajan came from the von Karajan family - a family named Karagiannis (or Karaioannes) of Greek origin, originally from the province of Macedonia (then under the name Rumelia belonging to the Ottoman Empire , northern Greece ) , which was first mentioned in Kozani in 1743 . He was the great-great-grandson of the merchant Georg Karajan, actually Geórgios Ioánnes Karagiánnis, the owner of a cotton shop in Chemnitz , Saxony , and great-grandson of Theodor von Karajan . Georg Karajan was with his wife and his sons Dimitrios and Theodor on June 1, 1792 during the imperial vicariate by the Saxon Elector Friedrich August III. raised to the hereditary imperial nobility. Recognition of this nobility in Austria took place in 1832. Theodor von Karajan for his widow and sons by decree of January 4 was the highest resolution of 27 May 1869 by Emperor Franz Joseph I in Vienna with the Knight's Cross of the Order of Leopold excellent and due to the statutes of the order as "Knight of Karajan" raised in September 1869 to the hereditary Austrian knighthood .

Herbert von Karajan's father Ernst von Karajan worked as a surgeon in Salzburg. His mother Marta Kosmač came from a Slovenian family; her father Mihael Kosmač was born in Mojstrana (now part of Kranjska Gora , German: Kronau ). Herbert had a brother Wolfgang, who was two years older than him . The (Austrian) von Karajan family was also affected by the abolition of the nobility in 1919 , whose family name became Karajan without the prefix “von”. For his part, the artist Karajan had threatened not to appear in Austria if his earlier “von” was not allowed to appear on the announcement posters. Thereupon Herbert von Karajan was granted him as a stage name.

Professional background

Karajan in Ulm, between 1929 and 1933

In 1912 Karajan began training as a pianist with Franz Ledwinka . From 1916 to 1926 Karajan was a student at the Mozarteum Conservatory in Salzburg with Ledwinka (piano), Bernhard Paumgartner (composition, chamber music) and Franz Sauer, organist (theory of harmony). In 1925 he was Konkneipant the Pan-German high-school connection Rugia Salzburg in ÖPR and later age Mr . In 1926 he graduated from the humanistic grammar school in Salzburg . In his written work he dealt with thermodynamics and explosion engines . From 1926 to 1928 he studied mechanical engineering for three semesters at the Technical University in Vienna , at the same time musicology at the University of Vienna and until 1929 at the Vienna Academy for Music and Performing Arts piano with Josef Hofmann (1865-1927) and conducting with Franz Schalk and Alexander Wunderer.

On January 22nd, 1929 Herbert von Karajan performed for the first time in public with the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg, whereupon the director of the Ulm City Theater invited Karajan to a rehearsal. In 1930 Karajan became first conductor at the Stadttheater and the Philharmonic Orchestra in Ulm .

Career in the Nazi state

Herbert von Karajan, 1938

The NSDAP stepped Karajan in Salzburg on April 8, 1933 ( membership number 1607525). This membership remained formally valid, but was suspended because of the prohibition of the NSDAP in Austria that came into force in June 1933. In 1935 he rejoined the NSDAP , this time in Aachen . In the course of the review of the Austrian accessions at the headquarters of the NSDAP in Munich in 1939, the (Austrian) membership was formally declared invalid and both were replaced with the accession date in Ulm on May 1, 1933; his membership number now in effect was 3,430,914. Oliver Rathkolb , however, contradicts the widespread assessment that Karajan only joined the NSDAP for career reasons. In a letter to his parents in 1934, Karajan polemicized against the Vienna Volksoper , where he did not want to conduct because it was a suburban theater without a name, "in addition, the whole of Palestine will be collected there".

In 1934 his contract in Ulm ended and he auditioned at the Reichsmusikkammer , to the then head of the concert department Rudolf Vedder . Vedder was closely known to the general music director Peter Raabe at the Stadttheater Aachen , and therefore in April 1934 a rehearsal was scheduled in Aachen. As a result, he became Germany's youngest general music director at the Stadttheater Aachen in 1935. Since the conductor Hans von Benda was also sponsored by Vedder, Benda again had no problem bringing Karajan to Berlin later.

During his time in Aachen, Karajan soon appeared at National Socialist events. On April 20, 1935, he conducted a Tannhauser performance on the occasion of the “ Führer birthday ”, a KdF opera evening (Fidelio) on April 30. On June 29, 1935, at a concert at the NSDAP district party conference, he led the performance of the propaganda works Festive Hymnus by Otto Siegl, Our Soul by Bruno Stürmer and Flamme up and Celebration of the New Front (based on texts by Baldur von Schirach ) by Richard Trunk .

Karajan in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus , Athens 1939

On April 8, 1938, Karajan conducted the orchestra for the first time as a guest, which he would later conduct more than 1,500 times in his life: the Berliner Philharmoniker . The program included Mozart's Symphony No. 33 KV 319 , Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2 and Brahms' 4th Symphony .

Karajan became widely known after making his debut at the Berlin State Opera on September 30, 1938 with Beethoven's Fidelio and conducting Wagner's Tristan und Isolde on October 21 . After the performance of Tristan , the critic of the BZ am Mittag , Edwin von der Nüll , coined the catchphrase "Wunder Karajan" on October 22, 1938. The author of the criticism should not have been from der Nüll, but General Director Heinz Tietjen , who wanted to promote Karajan's career at the expense of Wilhelm Furtwängler .

A first contract with the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft was signed. He subsequently became conductor of the Staatskapelle Berlin , and on April 20, 1939 Hitler awarded him the title of “Staatskapellmeister”.

Karajan conducts in Madrid, 1940

However, Karajan's favor with Hitler fell when he was said to have made false appearances in the performance of the Meistersinger von Nürnberg in the Berlin State Opera on June 2, 1939, and the performance had to be interrupted when the curtain fell. In relation to this incident, Karajan himself spoke of the "alcohol inclined" baritone Rudolf Bockelmann , who had skipped the second stanza, whereupon he had to improvise and, given the circumstances, came out of the situation elegantly. In any case, Hitler then decided, as in the memories of Winifred Wagner , that Karajan should never conduct at the Bayreuth Festival . However, since he was Göring's favorite , he continued to lead the Staatskapelle Berlin, with which he performed about 150 evenings in the State Opera until 1944.

Herbert von Karajan and Germaine Lubin , 1941

Karajan also conducted concerts in areas occupied by the German Wehrmacht , for example in Paris from December 16 to 19, 1940 with the ensemble of the Aachen Theater and in May 1941 as part of a guest performance at the Berlin State Opera with Tristan . In 1942 Karajan's contract at the State Opera in Tietjen was not renewed. The reason given by Tietjen was that Karajan had made excessive demands. In 1943 it was noted in a card index of the Reichsmusikkammer that, according to the Reich Security Main Office, there were no "negative notices in political terms" with regard to Karajan's political position . His marriage to the “ quarter Jew ” Anita Gütermann did not cause the Nazi regime to change this assessment either. The marriage even offered Karajan advantages, as Anita Gütermann came from a large industrial family. In September 1942, the head of the Reich Chancellery, Hans Heinrich Lammers, had informed Karajan in writing that his marriage to Anita Gütermann could only take place after the war. Anita Gütermann then sought contact with Goebbels in Venice and managed to get married on October 22, 1942.

On April 19 and 20, 1944, Karajan conducted the orchestra of Radio Paris in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on the occasion of Hitler's birthday . In the final phase of the Second World War , in August 1944, he was included in the list of the most important conductors, approved by Hitler , which saved him from being deployed in the war, including on the home front . In the same year Karajan started a job with the Reichs-Bruckner-Orchester in Linz. In December 1944 the orchestra was supposed to be made the best orchestra in the German Reich in honor of the Führer, before the end of the war put an end to this performance.

On February 18, 1945 Karajan gave one last concert with the Staatskapelle in Berlin and then took the plane to Italy. He spent the end of the war together with his then wife Anita in Milan and on Lake Como , where he - he said - "hid himself with the help of the General Representative for Italy, Hans Leyers , in order to avoid a call-up order for the 'Südstern' combat propaganda group".

Career after World War II

Edward Astley , who as a British officer in the Intelligence Corps in Milan and Trieste was in charge of some English-language radio stations as well as the local theater in Trieste, employed Karajan immediately after the end of the war and advocated his engagement with the Vienna Philharmonic . Karajan's denazification process was completed without written evidence that Karajan had "suffered enough" and only lived for music. On January 12, 1946, he gave his first concert in Vienna after the end of the war, but was then banned from the profession by the Soviet occupying power because of his membership in the NSDAP ; this was repealed in 1947.

In 1948 Karajan became director and honorary member, in 1949 a lifetime member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna . His real career began when he was accepted by Musikfreunde. He also made his debut at La Scala in Milan in 1948 and was a permanent guest there as a conductor and director from 1948 to 1968. In 1951 he conducted for the first time at the Bayreuth Festival , but did not return to Bayreuth after 1952 because he supported Wieland Wagner's directorial style with his conception of held incompatible. In 1955 he succeeded Wilhelm Furtwängler and Sergiu Celibidache as chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic .

In December 1954, shortly after Furtwängler's death, Berlin's Senator for Culture Joachim Tiburtius asked Karajan whether he could take on the Berlin Philharmonic's USA tour, which was scheduled for March 1955 during Furtwängler's lifetime. Karajan replied: "With a thousand joys, but only as the designated successor and artistic director". When Karajan conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker in New York in 1955, there were dramatic demonstrations against Germany and Karajan. He resigned from his 1956 lifelong contract with the Berliner Philharmoniker in April 1989 because the financial support from the city and his skills were no longer sufficient for him.

Herbert von Karajan at Schiphol Airport , 1963

At the same time he was artistic director of the Vienna State Opera from 1957 to 1964 , where he made a decisive contribution to the world fame of the house and brought many important singers to the house for the first time. When the federal theater administration passed over the opera management in a labor dispute, he wrote his first letter of resignation on February 7, 1962. After a second conflict in which Karajan's co-director Egon Hilbert , the Ministry of Education, the Federal Theater Administration, the union president, the Federal Chancellor and, ultimately, the Administrative Court were involved, Karajan finally resigned on May 11, 1964. In the autumn of 1963 Karajan had wanted to hire a maestro suggeritore common in Italian opera to take over Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème . The union wanted to prevent the falsely so-called “foreign prompter ” from being granted a work permit .

Herbert von Karajan, 1972

In addition to the main works of the classical-romantic repertoire, Herbert von Karajan also repeatedly devoted himself to maintaining rarities and first and world premieres. Representative here are:

Orfeo ed Euridice by Christoph Willibald Gluck , the first opera performance in the Salzburg Felsenreitschule , 1948
Trionfi by Carl Orff , world premiere, Milan, Teatro alla Scala, 1953
Murder in the Cathedral by Ildebrando Pizzetti , German-language premiere, Vienna State Opera, 1960
L'incoronazione di Poppea by Claudio Monteverdi (adapted by Erich Kraack), first performance, Vienna State Opera, 1963
De temporum fine comoedia by Carl Orff, world premiere, Salzburg, 1973

In 1960 Herbert von Karajan directed the opening premiere of the Großer Festspielhaus ( Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss ) in Salzburg . After his contract as artistic director of the Salzburg Festival (1956–1960) expired , he continued to play an important role in programming as a conductor and later as a member of the board of directors, to which he was a member from 1964 to 1988. In 1967 he founded the Salzburg Easter Festival , which he directed until his death: every year he worked on a new opera there with the Berlin Philharmonic, which the Berlin Senate released for it. In this context he founded the Salzburg Whitsun Concerts .

From the mid-1970s he was increasingly plagued by health problems, which did not prevent him from continuing to tour around the world. In 1977 Karajan returned to the Vienna State Opera, where he conducted Il trovatore , La Bohème and Le nozze di Figaro and in the following years Don Carlos . On May 12, 1978 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Salzburg .

The broadcast of Falstaff in 1982 was the first live broadcast of an opera performance at the Salzburg Festival; In the following years Der Rosenkavalier (1984, a new production of the opening production), Don Carlos (1986) and Don Giovanni (1987) were also broadcast live. In 1985 Herbert von Karajan conducted a performance of Mozart's coronation mass in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome as part of a high mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II . In 1987 he conducted the New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic .

Herbert von Karajan occasionally appeared as a pianist at concerts, and he often conducted Baroque works from the harpsichord , such as The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi with Anne-Sophie Mutter at the opening of the chamber music hall of the Berlin Philharmonic .

Karajan was a founding member of the Paul Hindemith Society in Berlin . He was also very interested in music reproduction techniques and placed great emphasis on media coverage of classical music . In addition, he promoted numerous artistic careers, such as B. those of Hildegard Behrens , Christoph Eschenbach , Anne-Sophie Mutter, Jewgeni Igorewitsch Kissin , Mirella Freni , Agnes Baltsa , José Carreras u. v. a.


As a conductor, Karajan has made more sound and image recordings than most of his colleagues. He recorded around 700 works by around 130 composers, and around 300 million records bearing his name have been sold worldwide. The German Grammophon (DG), Karajan's home label since the 1960s, made with him by 2008 an estimated third of its turnover.

From 1938 to 1945 there are several recordings with the Staatskapelle Berlin , such as the overture to the Magic Flute from December 1938 or Die Moldau from June 1941. In September 1944, Bruckner's 8th Symphony was broadcast with the Staatskapelle Berlin, one of the first German stereo recordings made, of which the last movement has been preserved. In 1946, through the mediation of Walter Legge at the British Columbia ( EMI ), he started a first large series of recordings with the newly founded Philharmonia Orchestra . From the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, he also recorded with Decca in London, from 1959 mainly with Deutsche Grammophon, and again with EMI since the 1970s. He recorded the standard repertoire up to five times, and in the opinion of many critics, the number of recordings is not always in proportion to their artistic performance. His company Telemondial, founded in 1982, had the purpose of capturing his "legacy" in pictures; image and sound recordings were made, in which Karajan also partially directed the image.

Karajan's style of music was mostly (apart from his early days at EMI) academic, without great risk; however, he attached great importance to the sound. His ideal was a “dematerialized”, smoothed, “streamlined” sound that avoids all physicality and noises when the tone is formed. This led to impressive results in sensory works such as those of Impressionism or Jean Sibelius . According to Sibelius's daughter, her father thought Karajan was the conductor of his generation who had the greatest empathy for Sibelius's music. With regard to this repertoire, Karajan is, along with Leopold Stokowski , one of the greatest “sound magicians” of all. In the classical-romantic repertoire, however, his sound ideal was often criticized as superficially polished. His Bruckner and Mahler recordings are not without controversy. Igor Stravinsky publicly doubted that “the Sacre can be performed satisfactorily in the traditions of Herr von Karajan”. His last recording was Bruckner's 7th Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic , and a live recording of his last public appearance in the Wiener Musikvereinssaal on April 23, 1989.

In 1968 Herbert von Karajan initiated the founding of the Berlin Herbert Von Karajan Foundation. The starting capital was 100,000 DM. The aim of the foundation is to support young artists, especially young conductors, as well as to support scientific research in the field of music psychology. Until 2002 the seat of the foundation was Berlin, since then it has been Cologne.

His unconditional striving for perfection and his interest in technical, acoustic and recording issues, in building acoustics and problems in hearing psychology led him to found the Herbert von Karajan Foundation, based in Salzburg, at the time when he was a member of the festival directorate in Salzburg brought out about twenty music psychology publications between 1970 and 1976. Although the seat of the foundation is Salzburg, the foundation is also in Cologne.

The Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon mentions the establishment of a Herbert von Karajan foundation to hold the Salzburg Easter Festival as early as 1969.

From 1995 to the end of 2006 there was a “Herbert von Karajan Centrum” in Vienna, which, in addition to selling products from the Karajan repertoire, presented a Karajan archive and occasionally organized concerts and lectures in his memory. On the occasion of the ten-year existence of this facility, Austrian Post issued a special postage stamp in 2005.

The Eliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute has existed in Salzburg since 2005 and has made the Karajan archive from the former Vienna “Karajan Centrum” accessible to the public since 2007.

Karajan received numerous awards, including a. 1961 the Austrian Decoration of Honor for Science and Art and 1969 the Art and Culture Prize of the City of Lucerne ; In 1978 he became an honorary citizen of the city of Vienna. The "Herbert von Karajan Whitsun Festival" has been taking place in the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden since 1997 . The Herbert von Karajan Music Prize has also been awarded in Baden-Baden since 2003 .

Akio Morita , boss and founder of Sony , was a friend of classical music and an admirer of Karajan. He invested heavily in the new medium CD . The most progressive recording studio in the world at the time was built in the chapel on Karajan's estate. Almost all of Karajan's digital recordings known today were made alternately in the Berlin Philharmonic and in the Vienna Musikvereinssaal. From the 1970s on, Karajan worked with the sound engineer Günter Hermanns, who supervised all of his late recordings at DG. These recordings were made alternately with the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic. Many later critics accused Karajan of focusing primarily on sound quality. Karajan was not a big repeater when it came to recording and often had to be persuaded by his producer to re-record certain passages that were less successful. Karajan always had the overall sound in the foreground, not getting lost in details, which in later years earned him reviews of his “high-gloss sound”. However, this could not make you forget his incredible musical memory, his immense musicality, professional sovereignty and his sense of aesthetic sound drama. Karajan urged the musicians and sound technicians to record the "perfect" sound: free of starting noises, free of noise, every voice, every instrument should be clearly recognizable and sound lively. In a documentary film made during these recordings, musicians and sound engineers also have their say, who are not very enthusiastic about Karajan's meticulousness.

Private life

Herbert von Karajan was married three times, first with the soprano (at the Freiburg theater) Elmy (von Karajan) Holgerloef (marriage on July 26, 1938), with Anna Maria ("Anita") Gütermann, heiress of the silk sewing company, in his second marriage Gütermann (married on October 22, 1942), and in third marriage (1958) with Eliette Mouret (* 1939). From this marriage the daughters Isabel (* 1960) and Arabel (* 1964) emerged. For both daughters, orchestras associated with Karajan took over the sponsorship, the Vienna Philharmonic for Isabel and the Berlin Philharmonic for Arabel.

In 1943 the Karajans were given a villa in Thumersbach near Zell am See due to the danger of bombs in Berlin , which had been confiscated by the Gestapo in 1941 for the benefit of the Reichsgau Salzburg and which belonged to the Jewess Vera Schubert. The population did not agree with the letting to Karajan, as he refused to accept other tenants in the house with five rooms and 120 square meters of living space, even though there was a lack of living space.

His technical interests didn't just extend to recording technology. He was a fan of fast cars and, as a long-time Porsche driver, belonged to the small circle of celebrities who received the Porsche 959 , which was limited to less than 300 copies - even twice.

"I had no problems with the first one because it burned down."

- Herbert von Karajan

He also had a private pilot's license and often flew his Cessna himself. Later he also acquired the corresponding type rating and flew a Dassault Falcon 10 (Mystère 10). Also sailing on larger yachts one of his pastimes. Most of these activities were - intentionally - accompanied by the media.

Herbert von Karajan died on July 16, 1989 in Anif of a heart attack after a meeting with Sony boss Norio Ōga . In the morning he had conducted a rehearsal for Un ballo in maschera . The next day he was buried without a party in the local cemetery of Anif, according to his instructions . His estate was estimated at more than half a billion D-Marks (around 256 million  euros ).


Austrian 5 euro coin (2008)

In Salzburg, the former was Sigmund place to Herbert-von-Karajan-Platz renamed. On September 19, 1996, the area next to the Vienna State Opera - on Kärntner Strasse between Opernring and Philharmonikerstrasse (→ Hotel Sacher ) - was named Herbert-von-Karajan-Platz .

In Berlin-Tiergarten, Matthäikirchstrasse , on which the Philharmonie is located, was renamed Herbert-von-Karajan-Strasse .

At the Salzburg airport a terminal after the flight was enthusiastic conductor Herbert von Karajan General Aviation Terminal named.

On June 13, 1991 the Austrian 500 Schilling commemorative coin Herbert Karajan appeared in silver with an edition of 350,000 pieces. On the front it shows the portrait of the famous conductor and his name in the form of his signature. The Salzburg Festival Hall is shown on the back.

On September 26, 2007 the asteroid (6973) Karajan was named after him.

On July 16, 1999, exactly ten years after Karajan's death, Claudio Abbado , Karajan's successor as chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, remembered his predecessor with a performance of Mozart's Requiem in Salzburg Cathedral .


"If I still have so much to say inside, and my body refuses to serve me - then nature has to provide me with another body."

"Every artistic achievement is a victory over human indolence."

"If you destroy the form, you also damage the content."

“Women do not belong in the symphony orchestra, but at the stove.” - a saying that should hardly be taken seriously in view of Karajan's commitment to clarinetist Sabine Meyer .

Awards for music sales

Silver record

Golden record

  • GermanyGermany Germany
    • 1983: for the album Hifi Karajan
  • FinlandFinland Finland
    • 1982: for the album Sibelius Finlandia
  • AustriaAustria Austria
    • 1999: for the album Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
    • 2000: for the album New Year's Concert 1987
  • SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
    • 2000: for the album Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)
  • SpainSpain Spain
    • 1999: for the album Beethoven: Las Sinfonías
  • United StatesUnited States United States
    • 1977: for the album Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies

Platinum record

  • AustriaAustria Austria
    • 1990: for the album New Year's Concert in Vienna
  • SpainSpain Spain
    • 1996: for the album Las Cuatro Estaciones
    • 1996: for the album Romance Karajan
    • 1998: for the album Karajan Espectacular

3 × platinum record

  • SpainSpain Spain
    • 1997: for the album Karajan Romántico

7 × platinum record

  • SpainSpain Spain
    • 1996: for the album Adagio Karajan II

20 × platinum record

  • SpainSpain Spain
    • 1996: for the album Adagio Karajan
Country / Region Silver record icon.svg silver Gold record icon.svg gold Platinum record icon.svg platinum Sales swell
Awards for music sales
(country / region, awards, sales, sources)
Germany (BVMI) Germany (BVMI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 0! P- 250,000 musikindustrie.de
Finland (IFPI) Finland (IFPI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 0! P- 25,000 ifpi.fi
Austria (IFPI) Austria (IFPI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 2 × gold2 Platinum record icon.svg platinum1 100,000 ifpi.at
Switzerland (IFPI) Switzerland (IFPI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 0! P- 25,000 hitparade.ch
Spain (Promusicae) Spain (Promusicae) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 Platinum record icon.svg 33 × platinum33 3,350,000 promusicae.es
United States (RIAA) United States (RIAA) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 0! P- 500,000 riaa.com
United Kingdom (BPI) United Kingdom (BPI) Silver record icon.svg silver1 0! G- 0! P- 60,000 bpi.co.uk
All in all Silver record icon.svg silver1 Gold record icon.svg 7 × gold7th Platinum record icon.svg 34 × platinum34

See also



  • Karl Löbl: The Karajan Miracle . Heyne, Munich 1978, ISBN 3-453-00827-8 .
  • Ernst Haeusserman: Herbert von Karajan. Biography . Goldmann, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-442-33100-5 .
  • Robert C. Bachmann: Karajan. Notes on a career . Econ, Düsseldorf-Vienna 1983, ISBN 3-430-11109-9 .
  • Roger Vaughan: Herbert von Karajan. A biographical portrait . Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-550-07974-5 .
  • Wolfgang Stresemann: "A strange man ..." memories of Herbert von Karajan . Ullstein, Berlin 1991. New edition: List, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-548-60827-3 .
  • Werner Thärichen: Bangs. Furtwängler or Karajan . Henschel, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-362-00535-7 .
  • Klaus Lang: Herbert von Karajan. The sole ruler of the Philharmonic . M-and-T, Zurich / St. Gallen 1992, ISBN 3-7265-6025-4 .
  • Franz Endler, Karl Michael Fritthum: Karajan at the Vienna Opera. Documentation of an era . Holzhausen, Vienna 1997, ISBN 3-900518-64-5 .
  • Richard Osborne: Une vie pour la musique . L'Archipel, Paris 1999, ISBN 2-84187-189-4 .
  • Richard Osborne: Herbert von Karajan. Life and music . Zsolnay, Vienna 2002, ISBN 3-552-05171-6 . dtv, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-423-34477-7 .
  • Bruno Streiff: Karajan, le chef d'orchestre . Ed. Complicités, Grignan 2003, ISBN 2-910721-63-9 .
  • Annemarie Kleinert: Berliner Philharmoniker from Karajan to Rattle . Jaron, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-89773-131-2 .
  • Peter Uehling: Karajan. A biography . Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-498-06884-9 .
  • Eliette von Karajan: My life by his side . Ullstein, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-550-08722-6 .
  • Eleonore Büning: Karajan, conductor. An interpreter is visited . Insel, Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-458-35027-9 .
  • Herbert von Karajan, photographed by Erich Lessing ; Text by Rainer Bischof. Böhlau, Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-205-77730-4 .
  • Jürg Stenzl (Ed.): Herbert von Karajan. The conductor in the light of a history of musical interpretation . Pustet, Salzburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-7025-0583-7 .
  • Peter Boeckmann: Memories of and about Herbert von Karajan from someone who was there . Berger Verlag, Horn / Vienna 2011, ISBN 978-3-85028-541-4 .
  • Klaus Schulte / Peter Sardoc: "Herbert von Karajan - His career began in Aachen", Materegloriosa, Trier 2008, ISBN 978-3-940760-03-6 .


  • Music / Karajan - The magical plus. In: Der Spiegel . 12/1955.
  • Richard Klein: The Herbert von Karajan case . In: Mercury. German Journal for European Thinking 57 (2003), pp. 339–344.
  • Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen: Life and Music of Herbert von Karajans . In: Musik & Ästhetik , 8 (2004), No. 32, pp. 98-102.
  • Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen: Economic miracle and absolute music. On Peter Uehling's new Karajan monograph . In: Musik & Ästhetik , 11 (2007), No. 42, pp. 105–110.
  • Richard Klein: Physiognomy of an interpreter. On Peter Uehling's Karajan interpretation . In: Mercury . German Journal for European Thinking , 61 (2007), No. 695, pp. 258–266.
  • Elfriede Jelinek , Christa Ludwig , Oliver Rathkolb u. a .: Dark man, light man: eight voices on a phenomenon . In: Die Presse , March 29, 2008, pp. I – II, online
  • Frank Raberg : Biographical Lexicon for Ulm and Neu-Ulm 1802-2009 . Süddeutsche Verlagsgesellschaft im Jan Thorbecke Verlag, Ostfildern 2010, ISBN 978-3-7995-8040-3 , p. 193 f .
  • Michael Jahn : Herbert von Karajan's debut in Vienna. "Tristan und Isolde" on June 1, 1937 , in: Ders., Verdi and Wagner in Vienna 2nd . Vienna 2014, pp. 135–138.


  • Alain Pâris: Lexicon of Performers of Classical Music in the 20th Century . dtv / Bärenreiter, Munich / Kassel 1992, p. 364 f., ISBN 3-423-03291-X .
  • Fred K. Prieberg : Handbook of German Musicians 1933-1945 . Kiel 2004, pp. 3545-3577 (CD-ROM lexicon).


  • Maestro, maestro! Documentation, France, Switzerland, Germany, 1999, 52 min., Book: Claire Alby, director: Claire Alby, Patricia Plattner, production: Arte , synopsis by arte.
  • Portrait of Herbert von Karajan - "Beauty as I see it" . Director: Robert Dornhelm, UNITEL 2007
  • Film star Karajan. Documentation, Germany 2008, 52 min., Script and direction: Georg Wübbolt, production: Arte , Br , RBB , table of contents
  • Karajan private. Documentation, director: Otto Schwarz, 42 min.
  • Karajan. The second Life. Documentary, Austria, 2012, 80 min., Script and director: Eric Schulz , production: ServusTV , first broadcast: December 25, 2012 on arte, film announcement , online video , review by Eleonore Büning (FAZ).

Web links

Commons : Herbert von Karajan  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Articles and essays



Individual evidence

  1. a b Georg Frölichsthal: The Austrian nobility since 1918. Lecture to the German Adels Law Committee on September 13, 1997. First published in Deutsches Adelsblatt, 36th year (1997), No. 11, pages 284–287 ( full text online on the website of the Heraldisch-Genealogischen Gesellschaft ADLER, accessed on November 20, 2019):
    “It is legally unclear what law and enforcement instructions [about the Nobility Repeal Act; Note] under “leading”. The latter has regarded the use of nobility titles as a criminal offense for itself, among other things, if it is associated with a permanent or challenging disregard of the Nobility Repeal Act. Herbert v. However, Karajan threatened not to appear in Austria if his 'von' was not allowed to appear on the posters - this provocative disregard meant that he was then allowed to use the 'von' in Austria unmolested. Since everything should always be in order with civil servants, the authorities viewed 'von Karajan' as a stage name. "
  2. Ν. Δελιαλής (N. Delialís): Συμπληρωματικά περί της εκ Κοζάνης οικογενείας των εν Αυστρία διαμενόντων ajan. In: Μακεδονικά (Makedoniká), Vol. 1, Thessaloniki 1940, p. 526 (PDF; 6.6 MB).
  3. Constantin von Wurzbach : Karajan, Theodor Georg von . In: Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich . 10th part. Imperial and Royal Court and State Printing Office, Vienna 1863, p. 467 ( digitized version ). (= Great-grandfather of the conductor Herbert von Karajan): “(Historian and linguist, born in Vienna on January 22nd, 1810). His father was a Greek merchant based in Vienna ... "
  4. ^ Official part. In:  Wiener Zeitung , May 30, 1869, p. 1 (online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz: "Se. k. and k. Apostolic Majesty have with the Most High resolution of May 27th. J. to the President of the Imperial Academy of Sciences Dr. Theodor Georg v. In recognition of his services to science, Karajan has graciously deigned to award the Knight's Cross of the Leopold Order free of tax. "
  5. ^ Official part. In:  Wiener Zeitung , September 2, 1869, p. 1 (online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz: "Se. k. and k. Apostolic Majesty have awarded the President of the Academy of Sciences in Vienna Dr. Theodor v. Karajan, member of the manor house of the Reichsrath, as a knight of the Leopold Order, in accordance with the statutes of the order, deigned to be elevated to the knighthood.
  6. ^ "Delo" newspaper, December 2, 2008, Ljubljana.
  7. a b c d e Street names of Vienna since 1860 as “Political Places of Remembrance” (PDF; 4.4 MB), p. 144ff, final research project report, Vienna, July 2013
  8. ^ Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft. Volume II: Artists. Winter, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8253-6813-5 , pp. 378–381.
  9. ^ Entry into Aachen in Fred K. Prieberg: Music in the Nazi State (online). Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  10. ^ Prieberg: Handbook of German Musicians , p. 3545 f. The basis was the Karajan name file that the author had viewed in the Berlin Federal Archives (holdings of the Reich Chamber of Culture). These connections were first published by Paul Moor in: High Fidelity Issue 7/10. October 1957, pp. 52-55, 190, 192-194 ( The Operator ).
  11. See Karsten Kammholz (less precise than Prieberg): "The man who twice entered the NSDAP" , Die Welt , January 26, 2008
  12. Die Zeit , Zeit Geschichte Nr. 1 2008, Misha Aster, pp. 30–31
  13. ^ Prieberg: Handbook of German Musicians , p. 3548.
  14. His work; Performances , www.karajan.org
  15. Wilhelm Furtwängler noted: “The intellectual conductor (Karajan, Tristan) conducts because he does not experience the piece anew, but only what he knows and wants, only the nuances. Therefore everything is exaggerated, the slow tempos too slow, the fast ones too fast, no harmonic-polyphonic overall experience of the orchestral sound, but individual, intentional or excessively prominent voices. Above all, the overall sound suffers (strings). In terms of expression, there is only what is hysterical, or it is reinterpreted as hysterically exaggerated. ”Furtwängler, Taschenkalender 1939-I, sheet 23. Quoted from Prieberg: Handbuch Deutsche Musiken , p. 3552.
  16. “With the appointment of Herbert von Karajan as Staatskapellmeister, the young generation's strongest conducting talent has found the recognition it deserves. [...] Karajan has once again proven that he is a musical personality with a compelling personality [...] ”In:“ Völkischer Beobachter ”from April 22, 1939, north German edition; under the title: "To honor German artists on the birthday of the Führer". Quoted from: Prieberg: Handbook of German Musicians , p. 3555.
  17. Interview with Herbert von Karajan , from around 16:40.
  18. a b Street names in Vienna since 1860 as “Political Places of Remembrance” (PDF; 4.4 MB), p. 147, final research project report, Vienna, July 2013
  19. a b c d Oliver Rathkolb: So, he did it. Herbert von Karajan died 30 years ago. Only now is it clear that he was only able to make his career under National Socialism because of his wife Anita Gütermann. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung, No. 162, July 16, 2019, p. 9
  20. Oliver Rathkolb : Loyal to the Führer and God-Grace. Artist elite in the Third Reich , Österreichischer Bundesverlag Vienna 1991
  21. Reinhard J. Brembeck: The man who couldn't say thank you ; in: Süddeutsche Zeitung, June 28, 2007, p. 13
  22. Lord Hastings obituary in The Daily Telegraph , May 5, 2007, accessed January 29, 2015
  23. Mozart - a salzburg.com weblog ( Memento from March 14, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  24. Corinne Holtz: “A myth is cleared out” , NZZ am Sonntag , August 26, 2007
  25. Emanuel Eckardt: "The Secret State Orchestra" , Cicero , September 2005
  26. ^ New Year's Concert on January 1st, 1987 in the Musikverein, Great Hall. (With conductor Herbert von Karajan and soprano Kathleen Battle.) Entry in the concert archive of the Vienna Philharmonic, accessed on November 20, 2019.
  27. a b Dieter Schnas: "Karajan's best recordings" , Business Week , March 30th 2008
  28. Martin Elste: A record conductor is being set up. Karajan's EMI years. In: Lars E. Laubhold and Jürg Stenzl (eds.): Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989). The conductor in the light of a history of musical interpretation. Anton Pustet, Salzburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-7025-0583-7 , pp. 171-178 .
  29. Quoted from “Greatest Recordings of the Century” ( Memento of August 17, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), EMI Classics (English). Retrieved from the web archive on November 16, 2016.
  30. Quoted from Holmes: Conductors on Record, London 1988, p. 126, translated
  31. For Karajan's assessment from today's perspective, see for example:
  32. ^ Herbert von Karajan Foundation prospectus
  33. ^ Herbert von Karajan Foundation
  34. ^ Academy of the Herbert von Karajan Foundation Cologne (formerly Berlin)
  35. Foundation letter dated March 11, 1969, approved by the Federal Ministry for Education on September 3, with the file number 113.984-III / 2/69.
  36. ^ Ernst Haeusserman : Herbert von Karajan .
  37. see information from the Music Information Center of the German Music Council on the “Herbert von Karajan Foundation” (accessed on March 26, 2009).
  38. ^ Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon : Karajan Foundations
  39. 10 years Herbert von Karajan Centrum. 55 cent stamp from the Austrian Post, accessed on August 17, 2008.
  40. ^ Eliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute. In: Salzburg.com, accessed on August 17, 2008; and: New Karajan Institute founded. In: Austria. ORF.at , December 1, 2005, accessed on August 17, 2008.
  41. Herbert-von-Karajan-Platz in the Salzburgwiki. Retrieved on August 29, 2010. (The source given is “Heimatkunde Stadt Salzburg”, May 1974 edition, with which the square was obviously renamed during Karajan's lifetime.)
  42. ^ "Herbert-von-Karajan-Platz" in front of the opera. In: Archive report of the town hall correspondence from September 19, 1996, wien.gv.at. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  43. Herbert-von-Karajan-General-Aviation-Terminal ( Memento of October 18, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), Salzburg Airport Magazin sam, issue 01/2012, p. 14
  44. ↑ Complete list of Schilling coins from 1947 to 2001, page 35, Austrian National Bank OeNb PDF ( Memento of February 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  45. Gregor Dolak: CONDUCTOR: Resurrection of the Immortal. In: Focus Online . March 22, 2008, accessed October 14, 2018 .
  46. Quotations ( Memento from March 29, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  47. Quotations ( Memento from March 29, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  48. ^ Press conference Beijing 1978. In: clingKlong (magazine) No. 41, p. 27.
  49. Karajan Privat - Documentation - Video Dailymotion. March 17, 2016, accessed September 9, 2018 .