Furtwängler, Wilhelm

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
Save to active project

Furtwängler, Wilhelm

Wilhelm Furtwängler (vĬl´hĕlm fŏŏrt´vĕng-lər), 1886–1954, German conductor, b. Berlin; son of Adolf Furtwängler. One of the greatest orchestral conductors of the 20th cent., he studied music in Munich, where he grew up. He began his career conducting opera in Lübeck (1911–15) and Mannheim (1915–20). In 1922 he succeeded Arthur Nikisch as conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and shortly thereafter also became principal conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic. Furtwängler was a regular conductor of the New York Philharmonic from 1925 to 1927 and its permanent conductor in the season of 1937–38. In 1934 he resigned his important posts in Germany when the performance of Hindemith's music was prohibited. In 1935 he returned to conduct the Berlin orchestra.

Furtwängler remained in Germany during World War II and, while he was never a Nazi, his failure to break with the regime led to considerable criticism. After the war he was absolved of a charge of having collaborated with the Nazis. He continued to conduct in Vienna, revived (1951) the Bayreuth Festival, and retained the position of conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic until his death. He was succeeded in Berlin by Herbert von Karajan. Furtwängler was particularly renowned for his interpretations of the music of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Wagner, and Schumann. He was also a composer, following in the German romantic tradition.

See M. Tanner, ed., Notebooks 1924–1954 by Wilhelm Furtwängler (tr. 1989); biography by C. Riess (tr. 1955); P. Pirie, Furtwängler and the Art of Conducting (1980) and J. Hunt, The Furtwängler Sound (1985).

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Furtwängler, Wilhelm
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?