Swiss conductor Karl-Anton Rickenbacher was born in Basel in 1940 and studied with Herbert Ahlendorf at the Berlin conservatory and privately with Herbert von Karajan and Pierre Boulez. He began his career as a répétiteur and staff conductor at the Opernhaus Zürich (1967–69) and the Städtische Bühnen Freiburg (1969–75), during which time his development was decisively influenced by another great conductor, Otto Klemperer. Subsequently he shifted his activities to the concert hall and was appointed general music director of the Westphalian Symphony Orchestra in Recklinghausen (1976–85) and principal conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow (1978–80). At the same time, he began appearing regularly in Europe, North America, and Japan as a guest conductor. His large discography—chiefly in collaboration with the Bamberg, Bavarian Radio, Berlin Radio, and Budapest Symphony orchestras—includes a number of first recordings of works by Beethoven, Wagner, Bruckner, Liszt, and Mahler, as well as Humperdinck, Hindemith, Milhaud (awarded the Grand Prix du Disque), Zemlinsky, and Hartmann (Cannes Classical Award). In 1999, his recording of Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (with a text by Sir Peter Ustinov) won the German Echo Preis as Best Classical Recording of the Year. He won an Echo Prize again the following year for his recording of Messiaen’s oratorio La Transfiguration, and another in 2001 for a CD in the Unknown Richard Strauss series.
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