REINER, FRITZ (1888–1963), conductor. Born in Budapest, Reiner was a student at the Liszt Academy, Budapest, where he studied the piano with Bartók. He worked as répétiteur at the Vigopera, where he made his conducting début in Carmen at the age of 19. He became conductor at the Budapest People's Opera (1911–14) and musical director of the Dresden Opera (1914–21). In the United States, he was conductor in Cincinnati (1922–31), in Pittsburgh (1938–48), at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1953–63), and at the Metropolitan Opera, New York (1949–53). He taught conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (1931–41) where his pupils included *Bernstein and Lukas *Foss. Reiner also was guest conductor of the opera in Halle (1921), Rome (1921), Barcelona (1922), Buenos Aires and Budapest (1926), Philadelphia (1931–2), Covent Garden (1936–7), San Francisco (1936–8), and Vienna (1955). He embraced a wide orchestral and operatic repertory, ranging from Bach, Haydn, and Mozart to Bartók, Stravinsky, and Webern. Between 1954 and 1963 he made series of recordings including his famous interpretations of Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade, and Ravel's orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition. He was regarded as a "conductor's conductor," and showed great technical mastery with breadth of interpretation.
Grove Music Online; R.R. Potter, "Fritz Reiner, Conductor, Teacher, Musical Innovator" (Diss., Northwestern Univ., 1980); P. Hart, Fritz Reiner: a Biography (1994; repr. with rev. discography, 1997).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.