Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 May 2019
The earliest evidence of Brahms’s activity as a conductor comes from 1847, when as a fourteen-year-old he led a chorus of school children in the small town of Winsen near his native Hamburg. His last reported appearance on a podium was with the Berlin Philharmonic in January 1896, aged sixty-two. Over a span of almost fifty years between these two moments, Brahms conducted a wide range of amateur and professional ensembles in many different locations across the Austrian Empire, Germany and Switzerland.
Brahms’s activities on the podium coincide with the steady rise of the professional conductor during the nineteenth century, embodied in the Austro-German sphere at first by Weber, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Spohr and Spontini, and later by Richard Strauss, Mahler, Richter and Bülow.
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