Eugen Jochum
(1902 - 1987)

Eugen Jochum was born on November 11, 1902, in Babenhausen. He was the second of three sons in his family. The boy went to grammar school in Augsburg and took piano and organ lessons whilst there (1914-22). He then studied orchestral conducting and composition under Siegmund von Hausegger and Hermann von Waltershausen at the Munich Music Academy.

Jochumís career began as repetiteur at the Munich Opera (1924-25), and he then went to Kiel (1926-27) in the same function. He made his debut in 1927 with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. His first concert was programmatic - he conducted Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7. In 1927, Jochum was appointed director of music in Kiel, and remained there until 1929. At the same time, he conducted symphony concerts in Lübeck. From 1932 to 1934, Jochum was appointed to Berlin Radio as musical director and conductor of the Berlin Opera. He succeeded Karl Böhm as chief musical director in Hamburg (1934-49).

In 1949, Jochum became the principal conductor of the newly established Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, remaining in that office until 1960. He then became principal conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam (1961-64). Apart from his fixed obligations, Jochum conducted in every musical center, above all in Bayreuth (1953-54, 1971) and Salzburg. He died on March 26, 1987, in Munich.

Eugen Jochum, who is considered one of the greatest German conductors of his generation, was influenced by the end of the German Romantic movement and passed this tradition on to his successors. As a great Brucknerian, Jochum was one of the first conductors to overcome strong oppositions and gave audiences what now seems only right. He did his utmost to make Brucknerís uncommon musical language accessible to the public. He was president of the German Bruckner Society and conducted many concerts of Brucknerís music in the abbey church of St. Florian. Jochum was a tall, scholarly-looking man, trained as an interpreter in the late 19th century tradition of intense musical expressiveness, and had a wide repertory.