Karajan, Herbert von (käräyänˈ) [key], 1908–89, Austrian conductor. Karajan began his conducting career in 1927. After World War II his reputation spread through Europe to the United States. He toured with various orchestras (notably the Berlin Philharmonic) and participated in many of Europe's music festivals. He was musical director of the Berlin Philharmonic and was artistic director of the Vienna State Opera (1956–64). He was a remarkable conductor, but his dictatorial style made him controversial.