Franz(Johannes Balthasar) VonHoesslin

Conductor, Composer
He was born in Munich on 13/12/1885. He studied composition under Max Reger and conducting under Felix Mottl. He debuted as conductor in 1908, but his career was interrupted by World War I. In 1923 he was appointed conductor of the Theater of Dessau, in 1926 he became general music director at Wuppertal and in 1932 he began to teach at the conservatory of Breslau. He is considered one of the chief interwar conductors of Wagner's stage works. He conducted concerts and opera performances in all music hubs of Germany and was repeatedly called in by the Berlin State Orchestra and Philharmonic. He conducted The Ring of the Nibelung [Der Ring des Nibelungen] at the Bayreuth Festival (1927, 1928, 1934). In 1938, he fled Germany after having refused to perform the anthem of the Nazi party during a public ceremony featuring the orchestra of the Breslau Opera. First he took refuge in Florence and then in Geneva, where Maestro Εrnest Ansermet had invited him to conduct the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. However, after a personal invitation from Winifred Wagner, he returned to Bayreuth to conduct Parsifal (1938, 1939, 1940). As a composer, he wrote mostly orchestral music, chamber music and song cycles. He was killed in an airplane crash in Sète (Southern France), on 25/9/1946. At the GNO, he conducted two opera performances at the Herodeion, which were organized by the German occupation forces: Elektra by Richard Strauss (June 1942) and Orpheus and Eurydice [Orfeo ed Euridice] by Gluck (October 1942). Featured at these performances were specially called in foreign stars and the Symphony Orchestra of the Athens Conservatory.