Schlich, Ernst von

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Schlich, Ernst von

Schlich, Ernst von, eminent Austrian conductor; b. Graz, Nov. 23, 1846; d. Kötzschenbroda, near Dresden, May 10, 1914. He studied law in Graz, where he also received instruction in music from Eduard Stolz, and served as director of the Musikverein; then went to Vienna, where he completed his training in law at the Univ. and also continued his musical studies with Otto Dessoff. He began his career as a violinist. After serving as music director of Lobe’s theater in Breslau (1867–68), he conducted in Würzburg (1868–70), Graz (1870–71), and Basel (1871). In 1872 he was called to Dresden as conductor of Pollini’s Italian Opera; that same year he was named Royal Music Director at the Court Opera, and then Royal Kapellmeister in 1873, sharing his duties with Julius Rietz until 1879 and with Franz Wüllner until 1882, when he became sole Royal Kapellmeister. In addition to his exemplary performances at the Court Opera, he also distinguished himself as conductor of the concerts of the Königliche Kapelle from 1877. In 1889 he was named Dresden’s Generalmusikdirektor, and in 1897 was ennobled by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary. He appeared widely as a guest conductor in Europe; his only visit to the U.S. was in 1900, when he led concerts in N.Y. During his long tenure, Schuch conducted 51 world premieres at the Dresden Court Opera, including Strauss’s Feuersnot (Nov. 21, 1901), Salome (Dec. 9, 1905), Elektra (Jan. 25, 1909), and Der Rosenkavalier (Jan. 26, 1911); was also the first conductor to perform Puccini’s operas and Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana in Germany. In his concert programs, he likewise conducted many works by contemporary composers. In 1875 he married the Hungarian soprano Clementine Prochâzka (b. Odenburg, Feb. 12, 1850; d. Kötzschenbroda, June 8, 1932); she studied with Mathilde Marchesi at the Vienna Cons., then was principal coloratura soprano at the Dresden Court Opera (1873–1904), where she took the name Schuch-Proska after her marriage. On June 4, 1884, she made her debut at London’s Covent Garden as Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; also sang in Vienna and Munich. Her other notable roles included Blondchen, Zerlina, Amina, Aennchen, and Violetta. Their daughter Liesel von Schuch (b. Dresden, Dec. 12, 1891; d. there, Jan. 10, 1990) was also a coloratura soprano at the Dresden Court (later State) Opera (1914–35); then taught voice at the Dresden Hochschule für Musik (until 1967).


P. Sakolowski, E. v.S.(Leipzig, 1901); F. von Schuch, Richard Strauss, E. v.S. und Dresdens Oper (Dresden, 1952; second ed., 1953).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Schlich, Ernst von

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