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Maag, (Ernst) Peter (Johannes)

Maag, (Ernst) Peter (Johannes)

Maag, (Ernst) Peter (Johannes), eminent Swiss conductor; b. St. Gallen, May 10, 1919. His father, Otto Maag, was the Lutheran minister, philosopher, musicologist, and critic; his mother was a violinist and a member of the Capet Quartet. He attended the univs. of Zürich, Basel, and Geneva, where his principal mentors were Karl Barth and Emil Brunner in theology and Karl Jaspers in philosophy. He also studied piano and theory with Czeslaw Marek in Zürich, and then pursued his training in piano with Cortot in Paris. His conducting mentors were Hoesslin and Ansermet in Geneva. He later profited greatly as an assistant to Furtwängler. He began his career as répétiteur at the Biel-Solothurn theater, where he then served as music director (1943–46). From 1952 to 1955 he held the title of 1st conductor at the Düsseldorf Opera. He was Generalmusikdirektor of the Bonn City Theater from 1955 to 1959. In 1958 he made his first appearance at London’s Covent Garden. In 1959 he made his U.S. debut as guest conductor of the Cincinnati Sym. Orch. He was chief conductor of the Vienna Volksoper from 1964 to 1968. On Sept. 23, 1972, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. conducting Don Giovanni. He was artistic director of the Teatro Regio in Parma from 1972 to 1974 and of the Teatro Regio in Turin from 1974 to 1976. Thereafter he continued to appear frequently in Italy while continuing to make guest appearances with orchs. and opera houses in Europe, North and South America, and Japan. From 1984 to 1991 he was music director of the Bern Sym. Orch. Maag is particularly esteemed for his remarkable interpretations of the music of Mozart, and also for his efforts to revive forgotten works of the past.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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