Sergiu Celibidache

June 28, 1912 - Roman (Romania) — August 14, 1996 - La Neuville-sur-Essonne, France


Visionary, perfectionist, dedicated teacher and legendary trainer of orchestras, Celibidache was a conductor who inspired devotion from his audiences and loyalty from his players, whom he would rehearse tirelessly to achieve the results that won him the reputation of being one of the great geniuses of the musical world. Refusing to embrace recording, and basing his career almost exclusively in Germany, he acquired a cult status for the profundity of his musical approach, not least in the symphonies of Bruckner, to which he brought characteristically measured tempos and an unfailing intensity of expression. After his death, several recordings of his concerts were finally released officially.

  • 1936–45: After studying music, philosophy and mathematics in Bucharest and Paris, he attends the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin.
  • 29. August 1945: First concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker, while Furtwängler is banned from conducting.
  • 1946–54: Principal Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker (from 1947–52 the post is shared with Furtwängler).
  • 21. December 1946: First German performance of Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony; Celibidache is unhappy with the recording of this concert and from then on refuses to have his concerts recorded.
  • 1960–63: Intensive collaboration with the Royal Chapel in Copenhagen.
  • 1963–71: Intensive collaboration with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
  • 1970: Is made a knight of the Vasa-Order in Sweden.
  • 1971–77: Music Director of the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart.
  • 1972: Gives masterclasses in Siena und Bologna.
  • 1973–75: Music Director of the Orchestre National de France.
  • 1978–92: Spends several weeks each year teaching musical phenomenology at the University of Mainz.
  • 1979–96: General Music Director of the City of Munich and Music Director of the Münchner Philharmoniker.
  • 1991: Celibidache is appointed Professor “honoris causa” of the City of Berlin and of the Musikhochschule in Munich.
  • 1992: On the request of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Richard von Weizsäcker, Celibidache returns to the podium to lead the Berliner Philharmoniker for the first time in 37 years.