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date: 06 April 2020

Ansermet, Ernestlocked

  • Noël Goodwin

Extract

(b Vevey, Nov 11, 1883; d Geneva, Feb 20, 1969). Swiss conductor. He first followed his father’s profession of mathematician, graduating from Lausanne University in 1903 and returning there as professor of mathematics, 1905–9. By then he had become more keenly interested in music, taking lessons in composition with Ernest Bloch and watching local conductors carefully. He decided to make music his career, and after a year in Berlin (where he sought advice from Nikisch and Weingartner) he conducted his first concerts at Lausanne and Montreux in 1910. In the following year he took over the Kursaal concerts at Montreux from Francisco de Lacerda (whom he acknowledged as the model for his mainly self-taught conducting technique), and in 1915 he became conductor of the Geneva SO.

During this time he formed friendships with several composers, including Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky (then living in Switzerland). In 1915, on Stravinsky’s recommendation, Ansermet became principal conductor for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, with whom he made his North American début at New York in ...

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