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 Karel Ancerl

Karel Ancerl

Birth
Tucapy, Okres Tabor, Jihocesky (South Bohemia), Czech Republic
Death 3 Jul 1973 (aged 65)
Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Burial Prague, Okres Praha, Prague Capital City, Czech Republic
Memorial ID 11133 · View Source
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Conductor. He built the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra into one of the world's great classical ensembles. Ancerl was born in Tucapy, Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic), and studied conducting with Hermann Scherchen and Vaclav Talich. His career as a conductor for Czech Radio in Prague was curtailed in 1939 when the Nazis barred Jewish artists from public activity. Deported to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt (Terezin) in 1941, Ancerl played a major role in its legendary music scene, commissioning works for the string orchestra he founded. He can be seen conducting Pavel Haas's "Study for Strings" in the Nazi propaganda film "The Fuhrer Presents a Town to the Jews" (1944). In October 1944 he was sent to Auschwitz, where he remained until its liberation three months later; of all the great musicians imprisoned at Theresienstadt (Haas, Klein, Krasa, Schaechter, Ullmann), Ancerl alone survived. His entire family was killed. After the war he resumed his job with Czech Radio and was appointed music director of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1950. During his 18-year leadership the CPO won international fame through frequent concert tours abroad and its many recordings for the Suraphon label. Ancerl continued the tradition of Talich in forging a distinctively "Czech sound" that was lean in texture, rhythmically muscular, romantic without being sentimental. He was peerless in performing the music of his countrymen (Dvorak, Smetana, Janacek) and was a leader of the 1960s Mahler revival. His interpretations of the early 20th Century repertory are also of note. When the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, Ancerl emigrated to Canada and conducted the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 1969 until his death. Thousands attended his funeral in Prague. From the late 1990s Suraphon reissued its Ancerl catalogue in a 42-volume "Gold Edition", making his work available to a new generation of listeners.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 25 Jul 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11133
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Karel Ancerl (11 Apr 1908–3 Jul 1973), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11133, citing Vysehradsky Cemetery, Prague, Okres Praha, Prague Capital City, Czech Republic ; Maintained by Find A Grave .