Karl Muck

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Karl Muck (1898)

Karl Muck (born October 22, 1859 in Würzburg , † March 3, 1940 in Stuttgart ) was a German conductor .


Karl Muck was born as the son of the Bavarian Ministerialrat Alois Jakob Muck (1824-1891), who was a son of the Würzburg ophthalmologist Christian Eugen Muck († 1858) and received Swiss citizenship around 1870. The father Jakob Muck became known as a conductor, composer and theater director. The great-grandfather Alois Muck (1761–1830), son of a school principal who had initially studied philosophy , was a royal Bavarian court and chamber singer. His daughter, Karl Muck's great-aunt Josefa Muck, was also a well-known Bavarian court theater singer.

After completing the humanistic grammar school, Karl Muck began studying music at the Collegium musicum academicum (Würzburg) . He also studied classical philology at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg . In 1877 he continued his studies at the University of Leipzig . He received piano lessons from Carl Reinecke . In 1880 he received his doctorate as Dr. phil. In the same year he made his debut as a pianist in the Gewandhaus with the B minor concerto by Xaver Scharwenka .

Muck began his career in 1880/81 as a choirmaster and conductor in Zurich . This was followed by Salzburg in 1882 , where he held a position as operetta conductor, and Brno from 1883–1884 . Further stations were Graz from 1884–1886 and Prague in 1886 , where he held the position of First Kapellmeister at the German State Theater . In 1892 he became the first Kapellmeister at the Kgl. Court Opera Berlin . From 1908 to 1912 he was general music director . From 1912 to 1918 he directed the Boston Symphony Orchestra . After allegedly refusing to let the American national anthem play in a concert , he was interned in a camp in Oglethorpe, Georgia from March 1918 until his expulsion on August 21, 1919 . From 1922 he was head of the Hamburg Philharmonic . After his last concert on May 19, 1933, he retired.

Another focus of Muck's work was the Bayreuth Festival from 1901 to 1930 ; mainly he conducted Parsifal there . From 1894 to 1911 he was also the director of the Silesian Music Festival in Görlitz . In 1925 he conducted Don Giovanni at the Salzburg Festival , making it the first opera to be broadcast from a theater (the Salzburg City Theater ) on the radio ( Radio Verkehrs AG RAVAG).

The celebrated musician is considered one of the first travel conductors. Abroad he gave concerts mainly in London and from 1906 in Boston (USA). From 1903 to 1906 he also worked alternately with Felix Mottl with the Vienna Philharmonic . As a musician, Muck was considered strict and objective. He was an excellent connoisseur of Richard Wagner's operas, in which he used broad, pathetic timings. He advocated keeping the cast for the performances of Wagner works as “ free of Jews ” as possible and, as he put it, only when there were no alternatives available to “bite the Jewish apple”. No Jewish musicians were welcome in the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra either. Muck rejected the admission of the violinist Hendrik Prins as a "diaper-soft request"; actually "the Kaffir is not worth an answer".

The place between the Hamburger Musikhalle and today's Brahms Kontor bore Muck's name from 1934. In April 1997, one hundred years after Brahms ' death, the name was changed to Johannes-Brahms-Platz . One reason for this was Muck's admiration for Adolf Hitler .

Karl Muck's grave is located in the St. Peter Stadtfriedhof in Graz .

Honors (selection)


  • Melissa D. Burrage: The Karl Muck Scandal. Classical Music and Xenophobia in World War I America , Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer 2019, ISBN 978-1-58046-950-0 .
  • Peter Muck (Ed.): Karl Muck: a conductor's life in letters and documents . Tutzing: Schneider 2003. ISBN 3-7952-1070-4 .
  • Paul Niggl: Great conductors on medals . Egon Beckenbauer Verlag, Munich 1967, pp. 62-63.
  • Ferdinand Pfohl : Karl Muck, a sketch of his life on his 70th birthday. Musikwelt 1929, pp. 420-423.
  • Gayle Kathryn Turk: The case of Dr. Karl Muck. Anti-German hysteria and enemy alien internment during World War I . Harvard University 1994.
  • Egon Voss : The conductors of the Bayreuth Festival . Gustav Bosse Verlag, Regensburg 1976, ISBN 3-7649-2062-9 , pp. 110-111.
  • Egon Voss:  Muck, Carl. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 18, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-428-00199-0 , pp. 255 f. ( Digitized version ).

Individual evidence

  1. Allgemeine Zeitung (1858), p. 2502
  2. Der Bayerische Landbote, Munich 1830, p. 647.
  3. Alois Muck
  4. Large Singer Lexicon, Volume 4, 2012, p. 3242 f.
  5. Josefa Muck , Court and State Handbook of the Kingdom of Bavaria, 1824, p. 91. , Lutz Hieber, Gesellschaftepochen und seine Kunstwelten, p. 141.
  6. Dr. Muck bitter at sailing. The New York Times, August 22, 1919 .
  7. ^ Franklin Kopitzsch, Dirk Brietzke: Hamburgische Biographie . Hamburg 2003, p. 294.
  8. “Death in Auschwitz. Hendrik Prins ”(Hamburger Abendblatt, July 23, 2012).
  9. ^ Frank Pieter Hesse, in: The Small Music Hall. A contribution to the 100th anniversary of the Laeiszhalle , p. 8 fn. 2. (PDF; 637 kB); Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 1999, p. 484 books.google.

Web links

Commons : Karl Muck  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files