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Hans Knappertsbusch (born Elberfeld (Wuppertal), 12 March 1888; died Munich, 25 October 1965) was a German conductor. He conducted some of Europes best orchestras. He was especially known for conducting the music of Richard Wagner, Anton Bruckner and Richard Strauss.
Knappertsbusch was born in Elberfeld, today's Wuppertal. His parents did not want him to be a musician and sent him to study philosophy at Bonn University. However, he soon started to go to the Cologne Conservatory to study conducting with Fritz Steinbach. For a few summers, he was assistant to Siegfried Wagner and Hans Richter at Bayreuth. When Bruno Walter left Munich to go to New York, Knappertsbusch succeeded him as conductor of the Bavarian State Orchestra. He stayed in Munich until 1936 when the Nazis made it impossible for him to continue. He then went to Vienna. There he conducted the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic.
Knappertsbusch was a large man who was very popular with his audiences. He did not often travel abroad, and was never very interested in music that was being composed at the time. He did not like long rehearsals. He often thought that his orchestras were musical enough to play well without rehearsal. His recordings of Parsifal are very good indeed.
Knappertsbusch died in Munich in 1965.
- New Groves Dictionary of Music & Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie; 1980; ISBN 1-56159-174-2