Hertz, Alfred, eminent German-born American conductor; b. Frankfurt am Main, July 15, 1872; d. San Francisco, April 17, 1942. After completing his academic studies, he entered the Hoch Cons, in Frankfurt am Main, where he studied with Anton Urspruch. He then held positions as an opera conductor in Halle (1891–92), Altenburg (1892–95), Barmen-Elberfeld (1895–99), and Breslau (1899–1902). On Nov. 28, 1902, he made his first appearance at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y. conducting Lohengrin. He conducted the first American performance of Parsifal there (Dec. 24, 1903), which took place against the wishes of the Wagner family. Consequently, Hertz could no longer obtain permission to conduct Wagner in Germany. He made his Covent Garden debut in London in 1910. From 1915 to 1930 he led the San Francisco Sym. Orch. He also founded the summer series of concerts at the Hollywood Bowl (1922), and conducted more than 100 concerts there; he was affectionately known as the “Father of the Hollywood Bowl.” From 1930 he was director of the Federal Music Project for Northern Calif., and conductor of the San Francisco Federal Sym. Orch. His autobiography was publ, in the San Francisco Chronicle (May 3-14, 1942).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire