Herbert von Karajan was an Austrian orchestra and opera conductor. He was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years.
Herbert von Karajan was born April 5th 1908 in Salzburg. From 1916 to 1926, he studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, where he was encouraged to concentrate on conducting by his teacher.
In Salzburg in 1934, Karajan led the Vienna Philharmonic for the first time, and from 1934 to 1941, he was engaged to conduct operatic and symphony orchestra concerts at the Theater Aachen.
Karajan's career was given a significant boost in 1935 when he was appointed Germany's youngest Generalmusikdirektor and performed as a guest conductor in Bucharest, Brussels, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Paris. In 1937 Karajan made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Berlin State Opera, conducting Fidelio. He then enjoyed a major success at the State Opera with Tristan und Isolde.
In 1955 he was appointed music director for life of the Berlin Philharmonic as successor to Wilhelm Furtwängler. From 1957 to 1964 he was artistic director of the Vienna State Opera. Karajan was closely involved with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Salzburg Festival, where he initiated the Easter Festival, which would remain tied to the Berlin Philharmonic's Music Director after his tenure.
Karajan continued to perform with both the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic up until his death on July 16th 1989.
Karajan’s life was not without controversy. He joined the Nazi party in Salzburg in 1933, at a time when the party was illegal in Austria.