Konwitschny, Franz, esteemed German conductor; b. Fulnek, northern Moravia, Aug. 14, 1901; d. Belgrade, July 28, 1962. He studied violin at the German Musikverein School in Brünn and at the Leipzig Cons. (1923–25) and while a student played viola and violin in the theater orch. and the Gewandhaus Orch. in Leipzig. He subsequently became a violist in the Fitzner Quartet in Vienna (1925), and also a teacher at the Volkskonser-vatorium there. He became répétiteur at the Stuttgart Opera in 1927, rising to chief conductor in 1930. After serving as Generalmusikdirektor in Freiburg im Breisgau (1933–38), he assumed that position with the Frankfurt am Main Opera and Museumgesellschaft concerts in 1938, and then with the Hannover Opera in 1945. He was appointed chief conductor of the Gewandhaus Orch. in 1949; was also Generalmusikdirektor of the Dresden State Opera (1953–55) and the (East) Berlin State Opera (1955–62). Although he held posts under both the Nazi and Communist regimes, he successfully avoided political encounters. He died while on tour and was given a state funeral by the German Democratic Republic; his request for a Requiem Mass was honored, much to the chagrin of the authorities.
H. Sanders, ed., Vermächtnis und Verpflichtung: Festschrift for F. K. (Leipzig, 1961).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire