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Conversation with East von Karajan s this is another in a continuing series of programs each of which offers the listener a rare opportunity to hear an eminent musician informally discussing his own career and expressing his thoughts about a variety of topics related to the art of music. The regular participants in these discussions are Aaron Parsons professor of music theory at Northwestern University's School of Music and program annotator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And George Stone program director for Zenith radio corporation's serious music station WEAA FM in Chicago. Mr. Parsons and Mr. Stone have as their guest on today's program a brilliant young music director of the Cologne opera and principal conductor of the London the symphony orchestra east of on purpose. Now here in George St. supposing we begin with
the early part of Mr. Curtis's career and sort of work forward. Let's talk about your early training. You attended the bronze was OK. Me Yes. I was educated by the sciences that had me fast in Nevada and I'm in competition and at least five years to conducting and finishing and I didn't really know at what age does one enter a school of this. And for many things usually after finishing the amazing. High school. But if you don't want to finish high school which I wanted because it was a humanistic gymnasium you can go on. But it's more advisable to finish it to finish school and then go to life University States.
It's very similar to the response of it or. Is it a state school or if it's a small or large family I think it's better. But it is just good school because it was a state school hires to get in. Did you encounter when you were at the school. Such a musician's diary. Yes pretty teacher. Yes we have yes. Gloves Yes. We had over the greatest musicians ordered instrument stores who. Own and share. Did you study composition with could only know I learned I was a few of them that didn't teach a composition
he finished it before the Second War. Well you studied violin composition and conducting at the academy. Yes. Did you play actively after your academic years. I've been one to 49. Very active. I preach in their concerts. But it was much too much. Purpose conduct. For learning. So I had to give up 1 7 5 gave up violin This would indicate that you continued with composition. Yes because composition was a very necessary.
What sort of compositions have you done or Castro has been just do. What kind of Starwood you write that isn't thinking of your order against. Him for being your own of course. Some of the same stuff. We do. So the firms list Academy has any particular attitude toward the teaching or educational program. Twentieth century music such as Syria was sure Bergen fever while it was a particular problem during.
From 8 to start to play any music which was not understood. Understandable for me. These famous dot of sure you know that this time of in most of the tuna and so you only can and have to make music which everyone understands. It wasn't allowed. She wasn't allowed even to play music bottle Quark's was and you know even but all embodied in both of course was the one to which was a really sort of coffee often trust call as he couldn't hear. I just washed the latest you know after the second. But we know of no person of here just as he was not allowed to speak the name of Stanley's changed you know Stravinsky and English here. Them to share
our first home game music life changer image and I take it you you have not been back to your home on the lot once I was back. I had to go but I have a friend but he never told me that. When you left Hungary and I believe that was I'm 57 and my last for a year. You had a scholarship. Yes to go out to roll. Yes and you studied were some to do something because entities he was also counsel that you couldn't but then you had started conducting previously at the Proms list to get to me and you continue this is your specialty in Rome. Yes yes. I'm especially useful about the modern composers. I studied. To hear some other music come from more than composers and music
was I never had in my life is not a family that gets to skeer glanced allows them and so on and so. People started this with Polly just how curious we were the Bartok. Should not be or should not have been at that time since we don't know at the moment whether it's been performed in Hungary but to us he seems along with could I sucked his music in such an exemplification of of Hungary in music. Yes there's so many words for our class sad. Ones of me too but pieces like. Maracas mind. Music Playing Russian journalist who wasn't allowed because it was simply
too complicated for the computer and I suppose the same thing would apply to more the very late work such as the Concerto for Mr. Ravi says this is a this is a. Oh it was awful. Well what they saw and the sappy I would construct. And I would say it was that will be allowed to accept the period between 9 and 10 he said which was his most important. Now you say that in your composing you have not done it with the intention of publishing. You've done it for your own satisfaction is this the end while armed because of suicide. From hell to do it to finish my to have to get my conducting. I see this list was required. Yes what is the good of our course. Yes yes. Do you ever compose mout now. Oh I can understand. I want to tell you about on the back of the must be one of the busiest men in the world.
Composition does make a definite difference in your approach to the musical score. As a conductor. And. I yes I think yes of course the whole education. And there's there. Are many songs like a life into this composition. Once luckily. I think systems. From the instrument they show it yet. So you see I had strange. Almost two characters before you left angry and we have mentioned that it was on a scholarship to Rome but before you left on you you were active as a conductor has money very much wealthier either.
I can have the jugular of my 20s. I'm not one here again this is in the 40s. If I am correct you are 36 years old. Thirty eight and there were programmes on why I was born in 10000 I was 20 Not exactly. So next month just for you. You actively began at age 18 19 mind while Mum. Was this some comic or opera or a comedy going concert you know. Do you recall your first concert. Oh yes of course I want for that. Where was the US. This is in the académie. We had a big concert Hello end of the affair. And this was a
problem of modes on this. Album. Two of obscure prudent. After the intermission the. E-flat symphony 5. Fourthly you call it set in nine years. Does every conducting student have a chance to conduct a complete program of this lord knows list to get them out. I was an exception. And so my time. And the academy was able to foster this talent by giving you your usual opportunity. Did you conduct them out setting regular concerts and. Free subscriptions. So like
they have a summer concert subscription which has. Got more and more in the last two years. What on earth I'm going to say I've got 40 concerts almost logical answers per year. You started on those of our listeners study who were about six. When did you know all that you were going to. Go in. Not to be a violinist but we're going to specialize in conducting because this seems to have I will is found to be a common even of our divine I played a violin since I was six that are as far as I can remember 10 or 12 because I and almost comes. From my passions to go to concerts and I always wanted to be here and this brings up a question with characters. As a boy. Did you have one particular conductor
who was a kind of hero. Because when I was a boy. I mean I was from 10 to 15 which is a very important period for the first the second floor when I got to grade. Cotton candy just warm. I remember this concert porter who came this above morning one with Clemens Krauss who came this affair Mo'Nique who was in the same year and one was only so really in the middle of the war. Monger about me nobody has to consult him. But there was no one individual. After whom you would have liked to climb up but that was later when they got a lot closer to
what was the nature of the training in conducting at the academy. Of the firm's list Academy. How do they prepare a conductor other than give him an opportunity. I mentioned we have two law exam conducting which you. Have twice a week or so trainings. All the other times I was in six conducting process on the strings so each separate parts and sort of conductor had to come down. Seem to expect something. But this was a conductor conducting one part was composing piano or instrumentation for
percussion. Things. How frequently do the conducting students have the opportunity to conduct the student orchestra twice a week while the waltz. As far the five classes. We have five five years for complete conducting. We had together mostly between 15 and tender students and I want five plus for all five of the five moons. And he travels alone in my class. And when you find it is just as was what I was enormous from the start from the start. Yeah I was a lot of my peers. Was the training somewhat similar in Rome. So no it is absolutely different but it was I think it was much shot. There's only four months and then it was four months
but it has reached us. She's in the famous greatest of the lot have been formally the doctor's responsibility. For six weeks. So for the conductor's time to person to person so my colleague and we had a half way house which means one and of course worked with her. It was interesting.
And I would answer I would be interested to know Mr. characters because we recently on one of these programs have a description. Of a period of study under cover from Korean. Exactly how they're trained on the braver Tali handle the business of teaching. How did how did your course with him begin. He as I knew something that I needed to tell loved at the piano and he played perfect PR. Obviously he played like an August since 1:00 PM and he explained us under us. Here. Hoskuld opinion in the form of the phrase yes. We have to conduct to him and he played piano and then we had to order the orchestra to say what's wrong what's good and teach the artists all of most
of these. I'm done for the first two. I see. One of them. Were you given a number of works to study and prepare. Yes yes. And what kinds of music all kinds of music everything from borrow money. Yes from more targets for money but it's not so much more but more. Stubbins said. You know we know you of course in this country primarily through your recordings. Happily we're not having the opportunity to get to hear your conduct in person but for years we have known your recordings and one gets the impression that you are a specialist in the romantic. Literature First of all. Perhaps with almost equal emphasis of the classic blues. Would you say this is an accurate appraisal.
Yes but judging from what I thought in yes yes and that is this reflected also in your live programming with your own orchestra. Well it's very interesting. You want to outdoor what here. 50 likely shorter than I was completing your course and here I was there for four months when the 57 and for four months in 58 for study. And. Cost finished 58 in the house September so I have to go to obviously the old burger with the Opera Company Yes but I wouldn't call for you to have the upper hand. You conducted both during the week you know of the Opera where the German opera live.
I think Norm these play in Germany almost 60 or 70 of process and the whole year. We have really have 52 League season from which she had succes holidays. And a small oil price of was player apart 20 pieces. From bridge camera club is a new production every year and a big L.A.'s biggest long look from. The air above. 50 of us in the. Video. So six seven eight new productions each year. Was Oh sure your initial experience. No I was our No. I was a member of glam instead of
55. Which you now of course are the general music director of the Cologne opera says yes yes. And in addition to that you are the principal conductor of the London Symphony. Yes and. One wonders a number of things. But especially. Which well especially how do you find the time to do it but would be one question and we'll get to that in a moment. But do you find one more demanding than the other. The preparation of your simply concerts or the preparation of our love it's not only the preparation of course the preparation of an opera takes much longer time than a symphony concert. And that in Cologne I would do I have to do a lot of I've missed this because the opera meets you know to this location some singers have to make
after take. Meetings and decisions for upcoming seasons as he's loved Winchell probably do New have a lot of money and venom and loves having to the round among them I would do pure play and music have nothing to do list ration. And this is marvelous. This is I think the ideal way to do music. And thus cause more the lawman simply very close all of them. Seems 60 we have a very big amount of repertoire. It is more than 200 bucks together for that mob to the same music or music. So are all of the preparation for a concert is really not a big problem. They can
do it in one two years. You must have some assistant conductors up to call more per hour. Yes yes I have. Five and accept myself. All the players you play in the year 300 I'm certified Oprah. And then the vote with three different operators. Yes which IMO is doing a given that as yours are. How many of these from circle do you do. How many different Oprah's help humans while each year I would do more and more because my new productions developing up. As far as I do every year three new productions and this is the end of my sets not new productions. Mostly I keep my new productions in my own hand and I think I too cool are about a 10 out of this from
20 to deal. Or course but I do 50 or 60 performances here. And your season with the London Symphony. How does this work out. Do you do a series of concerts here. Iran is under a series of concerts in the first two are hard in London mostly tell them to go to many managers. See here you probably have invited each year. You are all coming of the season in the visiting foreign markets or subscription. Come back in 16 now aren't 70. This is one of the highlight of travel season to season them. We go every second year of our trip
there. 60 floor to ship to court to whore to India as were Hong Kong Singapore in 6 6 6 3 have been in Australia till at last the door saw him in Singapore and also in Hong Kong and then back he came to New York on the second season. We are invited for 68 to be also confessed. Well we do a lot of work tour and or so and then nine and 17 Saudis are the main parts of the outside. Life after has little to do with cause. Tools like. So it's allowed to your go to the end of Book Festival as these seasons for
three weeks. And I'm sort of young the festival that you know first off from the second who loves Lots of whom are director. As we were driving up here today to meet with you I asked a question that he would like asked that I think is a very good one particularly in light of what you've just. How in the world is this orchestra managed to do it. He thinks that it must be. Well certainly it is one of a handful of the most recorded orchestras in the world. Yes. And there's all this touring. There are the live concerts in London itself. This must be a really busy group of players. I think there are very very hard. You can't imagine a United States or English officers because a union like relation here in the United States is is very passive and other musicians as far to the office as in a lot of them have to keep themselves
running after that for each penny. And if they don't love their money and their own band a lot orchestra certainly works. And of course this is reflected in the quality of its playing. It's a very one of the lot. Yes. You know yeah he she also into Daytona Beach best. Yeah I coming from la land I go back. I did Sunday evening. I have six cons that. I and my kids love makes softball so six and I I hope we can work and that it stays. I recall having seen an article in Time magazine a few weeks ago about Peyton and the speculation as to who was having the better time the audiences who obviously love
A conversation with...
Istvan Kertesz, part one
Producing Organization
WEFM (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Zenith Radio Corporation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the first of two parts, features Istvan Kertesz, Principal Conductor, London Symphony Orchestra.
Other Description
Eminent musicians discuss their careers and the art of music. The series is co-hosted by Arrand Parsons of Northwestern University School of Music and George Stone, WEFM program director.
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Host: Parsons, Arrand
Host: Stone, George Steingoetter, 1920-
Interviewee: Kerte_sz, Istva_n, 1929-1973
Producing Organization: WEFM (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Zenith Radio Corporation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-49-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:15
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Chicago: “A conversation with...; Istvan Kertesz, part one,” 1967-12-18, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 29, 2022,
MLA: “A conversation with...; Istvan Kertesz, part one.” 1967-12-18. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 29, 2022. <>.
APA: A conversation with...; Istvan Kertesz, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from