Hermann Levi

Hermann Levi was born in Giessen on 7 November 1839 and quickly made a name for himself as a musical prodigy. After early studies in Mannheim and Leipzig, he held posts as music director and Kapellmeister in Saarbrücken, Mannheim and Rotterdam from 1859 onwards. From 1864 to 1872 he worked as Hofkapellmeister in Karlsruhe, where Wagner became aware of him during his Meistersinger conductions. In 1872 Levi finally came to Munich as court conductor. He worked as assistant in Bayreuth, among other places, where he conducted the first performance of Parsifalin 1882. In Munich, he championed works by Johannes Brahms, Anton Bruckner, Richard Strauss, but also Hector Berlioz and Engelbert Humperdinck. He also had a decisive influence on the so-called Mozart Renaissance with his translations that were used until the 1930s. Two years after being appointed General Music Director, Levi retired in 1896 due to illness. He died in Munich on 13 May 1900. Because of his importance for music and especially his pioneering work at the National Theatre in Munich, the Orchestra Academy of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, founded in 2002, has borne his name since 2021: Hermann Levi Academy.

Photo credit: Andrea1903 (scan); photographer unknown, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons