© Tourismus Salzburg
Herbert von Karajan
In the eyes of the world, the name Herbert von Karajan is inseparably connected with Salzburg. The conductor, born in Salzburg in 1908, shaped and dominated cultural life in Mozart's city for decades.
Traces of the great conductor
Traces of the famous conductor are scattered throughout the city of Salzburg. A life-size bronze statue of Herbert von Karajan is located in the small park in front of the Raiffeisenbank in the center of Salzburg's historic city center next to the Makart Bridge. A commemorative plaque on the building indicates that Karajan was born here on April 5, 1908. Meanwhile the city has honored its famous son by naming a prominent square in the festival district "Herbert von Karajan Square. "
Herbert von Karajan is interred at the cemetery in Anif, a small town just outside of Salzburg where he lived for many years. It has become a pilgrimage site for Karajan fans from around the world.
Herbert von Karajan and the Salzburg Festival
The Herbert von Karajan era in Salzburg began in the postwar years. He gave his opera debut in 1948 by conducting Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice. He became the artistic director in 1956 and gave his debut as a producer in 1957 with Beethoven's Fidelio.
Herbert von Karajan opened the newly-built Large Festival Hall in 1960 with Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss and rang in a new era. Although Karajan shared the artistic direction after 1960, he remained on the board of directors, continuing to pull the strings and reach the major decisions as "the last absolute ruler," as he was described in an obituary upon his death in 1989.
He founded the Salzburg Easter Festival in 1967, which he headed up to his death. A new opera production was performed each year with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, whose members were given special leave by the city of Berlin's Senate. Karajan also founded the Salzburg Whitsun Festival.
The Karajan era
Karajan fostered a further internationalization of the Festival. Having been dominated by the Vienna State Opera ensemble for decades, the program in Salzburg now featured the polyglot world stars at home on opera stages and concert halls from Milan to New York. This in turn attracted a host of foreign guests.
The maestro had an impact on the music scene over the years as no other conductor before him. He also encouraged the development of music documentation. Karajan's curiosity and energy during the last years of his life induced him to store and document musical works of art – usually under his direction – for posterity