- Walter Susskind
Susskind was born in
Prague, Austria-Hungary, now the Czech Republic. His father was a Viennese music critic and his Czech mother was a piano teacher. At the State Conservatorium he studied under composer Josef Suk, the son-in-law of Antonin Dvořák. He later studied conducting under George Szell.
Susskind fled Prague on
13 March 1939two days before the German invasion. With the help of a British journalist and consular officials, Susskind arrived in the United Kingdom as a refugee. He formed Czech Trio chamber ensemble in which he was the pianist. Encouraged by Jan Masaryk, the Czech ambassador in London, the trio obtained many engagements.
In 1942 he joined the
Carl Rosa Opera Companyas a conductor, working with singers such as Heddle Nashand Joan Hammond. In 1944 he made his first recording for Walter Leggeof EMIconducting Liu’s arias from " Turandot" with Hammond.
After the war, Susskind became a naturalised British citizen, and though he spent much of his subsequent career outside Britain he said he would never dream of giving up his British citizenship.
His first appointment as musical director was to the Scottish Orchestra where he served for six years. After free-lancing in Israel and South America he was appointed to head the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
In 1968 he was appointed conductor of the St Louis Symphony Orchestra. In 1971 he opened the
New York City Opera’s season with "The Makropulos Affair."
Susskind died in Berkeley, California at the age of 66.
* [http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Susskind-Walter.htm Walter Susskind] at the
Bach Cantatas Website
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.