German conductor noted for his exploration of the byways of the German and Czech repertoire passes at 78.

German conductor Gerd Albrecht has passed away at the age 78. A sometime controversial figure in the orchestral world, he was a great champion of neglected corners of the repertoire and leaves a rich discography spread across several labels.

Born in Essen, at the age of 22 Albrecht was first-prize winner at the International Besançon Competition for Young Conductors. He subsequently became Germany’s youngest General Music Director at age 27 while working in Lübeck. During his long career he held positions with companies including the Stuttgart State Opera, Mainz Municipal Theatre, Deutche Oper Berlin, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and the Hamburg State Opera.

Albrecht became well-known for his advocacy of late 19th and early 20th-century works. This included the operatic output of Schreker, Schoeck and Spohr as well as conducting the world premiere of Aribert Reimann’s Learin 1978. In orchestral music he championed the works of Krenek, Hindemith and Schulhoff.

 

Appointed by the Czech Philharmonic as their principal conductor in 1991 for an intended tenure of seven years he was the first ‘foreign’ conductor to lead them. he was due to take up the...

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