A Portrait of Herbert Von Karajan

In the world of classical music, Herbert Von Karajan is considered one of the most successful and most powerful conductors of the past century. Born in Austria, Karajan is best known for his work with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Salzberg Festival, and for his thirty-five years as conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Mr. Karajan earned international fame for his tours and award-winning recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic. He had a reputation as a perfectionist and as someone who set new audio standards, by which other recordings would eventually be measured.

Yet despite the accolades, Mr. Karajan was not free of controversy. He joined the Nazi party in 1933 and enjoyed a great success throughout the Nazi regime.

And though he was a well-respected conductor, many critics found him increasingly slick, and a show-off. He did have a fondness for new technology, and played an important role in the development of the compact disc. You won't hear about that in today's documentary, however, as the CD was introduced, with Mr. Karajan present at the press conference, in 1981.

This portrait of Herbert Von Karajan was produced in 1974 by the CBC's Robert Chesterman. Mr. Chesterman was a respected radio producer, film director and author. In the 1970s, he produced several CBC documentary portraits of eminent conductors, which he then published as the book Conductors in Conversation.


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Listen to And The Winner Is...episode that aired on January 31, 2012

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