Charles MUNCH

Family tree of Charles MUNCH

Singer & Musician

FrenchBorn Charles MUNCH

Alsatian symphonic conductor and violinist

Born on September 26, 1891 in Strasbourg, France , France

Died on November 6, 1968 in Richmond, Virginia, USA

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Munch was born in Strasbourg, Alsace-Lorraine, German Empire (now France, since 1919). He was the fifth in a family of six children. Although his first ambition was to be a locomotive engineer, he studied violin at the Strasbourg Conservatoire. His father, Ernest Münch, was a professor of organ at the Conservatoire and performed at the cathedral. His father also taught and directed an orchestra with his son in the second violins. After receiving his diploma in 1912, Charles studied with Carl Flesch in Berlin and Lucien Capet at the Conservatoire de Paris. He was conscripted into the German army in World War I, serving as a sergeant gunner. He was gassed at Péronne and wounded at Verdun.



In 1920, he became professor of violin at the Strasbourg Conservatoire and assistant concertmaster of the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra under Joseph Guy Ropartz, who directed the conservatory. In the early 1920s he was concertmaster for Hermann Abendroth's Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne. He then served as concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Wilhelm Furtwängler and Bruno Walter from 1926 to 1933.

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At the age of 41, Munch made his conducting debut in Paris on November 1, 1932. Munch's fiancée, Geneviève Maury, granddaughter of a founder of the Nestlé Chocolate Company, rented the hall and hired the Straram Orchestra. She was also an accomplished translator of Thomas Mann. Munch also studied conducting with Czech conductor Fritz Zweig who had fled Berlin during his tenure at Berlin's Krolloper.



Following this success, he conducted the Concerts Siohan, the Lamoureux Orchestra, the new Orchestre Symphonique de Paris, the Biarritz Orchestra (Summer 1933), the Société Philharmonique de Paris (1935 to 1938), and the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire (1937 to 1946). He became known as a champion of Hector Berlioz, and befriended Arthur Honegger, Albert Roussel, and Francis Poulenc. During these years, Munch gave first performances of works by Honegger, Jean Roger-Ducasse, Joseph Guy Ropartz, Roussel, and Florent Schmitt. He became director of the Société Philharmonique de Paris in 1938 and taught conducting at the Conservatoire de Paris from 1937 to 1945.



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Geographical origins

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