Paul Dessau

Paul Dessau

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Paul Dessau

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Paul Dessau (19 December 1894 Hamburg, Germany - 28 June 1979 in Königs Wusterhausen, Germany) was a German composer and conductor.

Biography

Dessau was born in Hamburg into a musical family. His grandfather, Moses Berend Dessau, was a cantor, his uncle, Bernhard Dessau, a violinist at the Royal Opera House, Unter den Linden, and his cousin Max Winterfeld became generally known under the name Jean Gilbert as a composer of operettas.

From 1909 he majored in violin at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin. In 1912 he became répétiteur at the City Theatre (Stadttheater) in Hamburg. There he studied the works of the composers Felix von Weingartner and Arthur Nikisch and took classes in composition from Max Julius Loewengard. He was second Kapellmeister at the Tivoli Theatre in Bremen in 1914 before being drafted for military service in 1915.

After World War I he became conductor at the Intimate Theatre (Kammerspiele), Hamburg, and was répétiteur and later Kapellmeister at the opera house in Cologne under Otto Klemperer between 1919 and 1923. In 1923 he became Kapellmeister in Mainz and from 1925 Principal Kapellmeister at the Städtische Oper Berlin under Bruno Walter.

In 1933 Dessau emigrated to France, and 1939 moved further to the U.S. where initially he lived in New York before moving to Hollywood. Dessau returned to Germany with his second wife, the writer Elisabeth Hauptmann, and settled in East Berlin in 1948.Starting in 1952 he taught at the Public Drama...
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