Conductor, Composer. Born in Raun am Lech, Germany, the son of an organist, he studied music in Munich and in Vienna with Simon Sechter and Abbe Stadler. As a young man he was a close friend of Franz Schubert, who along with Beethoven was the primary influence on his conservative, early romantic style. His first notable position was as conductor of Vienna's Kartnertor Theatre (1828 to 1829). In 1836 Lachner returned to Munich and for the next three decades assumed a central role in the city's musical life. As director of what is now the Bavarian State Opera and Bavarian State Orchestra, he built these ensembles into the finest in Germany, surpassing even Berlin in performance standards and challenging repertory. Although he personally disliked Richard Wagner's music, he recognized its importance and by the late 1850s Munich had evolved into the Mecca of Wagnerian fandom. Lachner's commendable impartiality in this matter backfired on him following the death of his patron, Maximilian II of Bavaria. In April 1864 Wagner accepted an offer from Maximilian's successor, the eccentric King Ludwig II, promising him complete creative and financial freedom if he settled in Bavaria; Lachner was immediately booted from all his musical posts and replaced with Wagner's disciple, conductor Hans von Bülow. (He was allowed to keep the title of music director until his contract expired in 1867). This effectively ended his performing career, though he continued to compose and was respected as an elder statesman of German music. In 1873 he even attempted to quell the war of polemics between supporters of Wagner and Brahms by arranging for both composers to receive the Royal Order of Maximilian. Posterity has not been kind to this honorable musician. During his lifetime his compositions were highly regarded and he enjoyed particular success with his opera "Caterina Cornaro" (1841), a Requiem (1856), and the Orchestral Suite No. 7 (1881); but neither these nor any of his eight symphonies (written between 1828 and 1851) have found a place in the permanent repertory. With only written reports of his conducting skills to go by, he is chiefly remembered today as either Schubert's friend or one of many victims of Wagner's ruthless ambition.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
Dr. Franz Lachner
(Royal Bavarian General Music Director)
2. April 1803 - 22. Jan. 1890.