Szell, George sĕl [key], 1897–1970, American conductor and pianist, b. Budapest. He moved with his family to Vienna during his childhood and started his piano training at an early age studying at the State Academy of Music in Vienna and in Leipzig. Deciding on a career as a conductor, Szell assisted Richard Strauss at the Berlin State Opera, then held conducting posts in Strasbourg (1917), Prague (1919–21), Darmstadt (1922), and Düsseldorf (1922–24). He was the chief conductor of the Berlin State Opera from 1924 to 1930. Szell made his American debut (1930) with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Settling in the United States in 1939, he taught at the New School for Social Research and at the Mannes School of Music in New York City and was principal conductor at the Metropolitan Opera (1942–46). In 1946 he became a U.S. citizen. From that year until his death he was musical director of the Cleveland Orchestra , which, under his leadership, became one of the world's finest orchestras. He took leave to conduct the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, and returned (1963) to the United States as guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic, for which he also acted as interim conductor during the period from 1969 to 1970. Szell's interpretations were marked by clarity and objective adherence to the composer's intentions.
See biography by M. Charry (2011).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: History, Composers, and Performers: Biographies
Browse By Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-