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Pollak, Egon

Pollak, Egon , esteemed Czech-born Austrian conductor; b. Prague, May 3, 1879; d. there (of a heart attack while conducting a performance of Fidelio), June 14, 1933. He studied with Knittl at the Prague Cons. He was chorus master at the Prague Deutsches Theater (1901–05); conducted opera in Bremen (1905–10), Leipzig (1910–12), and Frankfurt am Main (1912–17); also conducted in Paris and at London’s Covent Garden (1914). He led Wagner’s Ring cycle at the Chicago Grand Opera (1915–17); was able to leave the U.S. with the Austrian diplomatic legation as the U.S. entered World War I (1917). He was Generalmusikdirektor of the Hamburg Opera (1917–31); also conducted in Rio de Janeiro and at Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colon (1928); appeared at the Chicago Civic Opera (1929–32) and in Russia (1932); led performances of the ensemble of the Vienna State Opera in Cairo and Alexandria (1933). He was a distinguished interpreter of the operas of Wagner and Richard Strauss.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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