Paris Conservatory Orchestra

Carl Schuricht

Carl Adolph Schuricht (July 3, 1880January, 1967) was a German conductor.

Schuricht was born in Danzig (Gdańsk), German Empire; his father's family had been respected organ-builders. His mother, Amanda Wusinowska, a widow soon after her marriage (Carl's father drowned saving a friend three weeks before he was born), brought up her son alone. His childhood was surrounded by music "every Sunday in summer we used to hire three large open carriages and go out into the country. After the picnic we would join in singing choral works by Bach, Handel and Mendelssohn." He showed a talent for music at an early age, studying piano and violin from the age of six. By eleven he was composing, and continued his academic and musical studies when his mother moved to Berlin, then to Wiesbaden.

In terms of his musical apprenticeship, at 20 he obtained the post of Korrepetitor at the Stadttheater in Mainz and two years later won the Kuczynski Foundation prize for composition and a Franz von Mendelssohn scholarship. He then returned to Berlin to study composition with Engelbert Humperdinck, later working under Reger in Leipzig, publishing chamber pieces, sonatas and lieder. Attracted by the profession of conductor he undertook tours in Germany conducting operettas, operas, choral societies and symphony concerts. During this time he had the chance to watch at rehearsal and in concert such figures as Nikisch, Weingartner, Schuch, Mottl, Richter, Muck, Mahler and Steinbach.

In 1906 he heard Delius's Sea Drift in Essen with the composer present, and promised to Delius that when he had his own orchestra he would conduct it himself, which he did in Frankfurt with Delius again in the audience. In 1909 he succeded Siegfried Ochs as director of the Rühlscher Oratorienverein in Frankfurt-am-Mein and at 31 was appointed musical director of the municipal orchestra in Wiesbaden; festivals of modern music (Strauss, Reger, Mahler, Delius and Schoenberg) made Wiesbaden an internationally-renowned centre for music. Schuricht said of this time "The German public was no more avid than any other for the novelties which I wanted to give it. I have to prepare it for them gently, convince without bludgeoning, cajole and seduce. I managed this by prefacing concerts of modern music by lectures, which I illustrated with extracts played by myself at the piano or by the orchestra.

His career was not that of a star but he was loved both by the orchestra members and audience. He was the main conductor when the Vienna Philharmonic made their first US tour in 1956. Schuricht studied at the Berliner Stern'sches Konservatorium, under Ernst Rudorff and Engelbert Humperdinck. He composed a few pieces, mainly for piano. He later studied under Max Reger in Leipzig. In 1911, he became music director at Wiesbaden (1923-1944), where he conducted performances Mahler's Symphonies, although they were not as popular at the time as they are now. Schuricht worked with the Dresden Philharmonic in 1943 and 1944, until he left for Zürich, Switzerland where he married Maria Martha Banz and worked with l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

During the late 40s and 50s he conducted throughout Switzerland, at the re-opening of the Salzburg Festival, in Paris, and at the festivals of Holland, Lucerne, Aix-en-Provence and Montreux.

He died at the age of 86 in his home at Vevey, Switzerland.

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