Fuerstner, Carl

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Fuerstner, Carl

Fuerstner, Carl, German-born American pianist, conductor, teacher, and composer; b. Strasbourg, June 16, 1912; d. Bloomington, Ind., Dec. 5, 1994. He studied composition and conducting at the Cologne Hochschule für Musik (1930–34), where his teachers were Abendroth, Braunfels, Jarnach, and Klussmann. While still a student, he composed incidental music for theatrical plays. In 1939 he went to the U.S. as asst. conductor of the San Francisco Opera; he became a naturalized American citizen in 1945. From 1945 to 1950 he was head of the opera dept. at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y; then served on the faculty of Brigham Young Univ. in Provo, Utah (1951–61), where he was resident pianist, opera conductor, principal piano teacher, and head of the composition dept. (1955–61); also toured widely as a piano accompanist to many celebrated artists of the day and conducted an impressive repertoire of standard and modern operas in the U.S. and Europe. From 1963 to 1982 he was principal opera coach at the Ind. Univ. School of Music in Bloomington, where he also conducted operas. He also was on the faculty of the Summer Academy of the Salzburg Mozarteum (1973–82); then was active with the American Inst. of Musical Studies in Graz (1983–85); concurrently was associated with the “Festa Musica Pro” in Assisi, Italy. From 1981 to 1989 he was music director of the Bloomington (Ind.) Sym. Orch.


Concerto rapsodico for Cello and Orch. (Rochester, N.Y, May 11, 1947); Metamorphoses on a Chorale Theme for 20 Trombones, 2 Tubas, and Percussion (Rochester, N.Y, April 5, 1949); Symphorama for Orch. (1960); Overture (1954), Allegro ritmico (1958), and many other pieces for Concert Band, as well as band transcriptions of Classical and Romantic works; Divertimento for String Quartet (1950); Clarinet Sonata (1950); Allegro concertante for Trombone and 10 Instruments (1966); Sonata for Bass Clarinet and Piano or Cello (1977); Conjurations for Soprano Saxophone and Piano (1985); piano pieces; choral works, including the 46th Psalm for Chorus, 4 Trumpets, 4 Trombones, and Organ (1983).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire