Leinsdorf, Erich ĕr´ĭkh līz´dôrf, līnts´– [key], 1912–93, American conductor, b. Vienna. Leinsdorf studied at the Vienna state academy of music and in 1934 began his conducting career, serving as assistant to Bruno Walter and then to Toscanini at the Salzburg festival. He made his New York debut as an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in 1938, remaining there as Wagnerian conductor until 1943, when he was made conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra. He returned to the Metropolitan Opera (1944) for one season and then served (1945–54) as conductor of the Rochester (N.Y.) Symphony Orchestra. After one year with the New York City Opera Company, he again conducted at the Metropolitan Opera until 1962, when he became music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He had enormous success in that position, from which he resigned in 1969.
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