Wüllner, Franz, important German pianist, conductor, and composer, father of Ludwig Wüllner; b. Münster, Jan. 28, 1832; d. Braunfels-an-der-Lahn, Sept. 7, 1902. He studied with Schindler in Münster and Frankfurt am Main (1846-50). From 1850 to 1854 he was active as a concert artist. He was a teacher at the Munich music school (1856-58), then music director in Aachen (1858-64). He returned to Munich in 1864, where he became court music director of the church choir. He then taught at the music school (from 1867), and also conducted at the Court Opera. Under unfavorable conditions (against Wagner’s wishes), he prepared and conducted the first perf. of Das Rheingold (Sept. 22,1869) and Die Walküre (June 26,1870), the success of which led to his appointment as principal conductor there in 1871. In 1877 he became court conductor at Dresden, and also director of the Cons. In 1882 Schuch was promoted to take his place; thereafter Wüllner was one of the conductors of the Berlin Phil. for the 1882-1885 seasons. He became conductor of the Gurzenich Concerts in Cologne in 1884 and director of the Cologne Cons., later becoming also municipal music director, posts he held until his death. He was highly regarded as a choral composer. He publ. the valuable book of vocal exercises Chorübungen der Münchener Musikschule (3 vols., Munich, 1876; new ed. by R. Stephani, 1953-54; Eng. tr., 1882). He was a friend of Brahms.
vocal: Voice and Orch.: Die Flucht der heiligen Familie; Heinrich der Finkler; Deutscher Siegesgesang; Lied und Leben; Psalm 98; Psalm 127. O t h e r : Church music; songs.
E. Prieger, F. W.: ein Nachruf (Bonn, 1902); E. Wolff, ed., Johannes Brahms im Briefwechsel mit F. W.(Berlin, 1922; with a list of works); D. Kamper, F. W.: Leben, Wirken und kompositorisches Schaffen (Cologne, 1963); idem, ed., Richard Strauss und F. W. im Briefwechsel (Cologne, 1963).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire