What made Carlos Kleiber a great conductor?

In 2009 BBC Music Magazine asked 100 leading conductors to name the conductor they found most inspiring. Their choice wasn't Karajan, Bernstein or Toscanini; it was Austrian conductor Carlos Kleiber (1930-2004). Yet watching him in action, you begin to understand why so many musicians admire him.

Kleiber never thought of performing a piece that he didn't know inside out, often using the meticulously marked scores prepared by his father, Erich Kleiber. In fact, he limited his repertory to a relative handful of works that he cared deeply about. And his rapport with the musicians was such that it often took only a smile or a raised eyebrow to get exactly what he had in mind.  

But there's more to it than that, as Eric Schutz shows us in this award-winning documentary. I've posted the first 15 minutes, with contributions from the conductor's sister Veronika; Placido Domingo; Brigette Fassbaender; Otto Schenk, who directed many of the opera productions Kleiber conducted; and Manfred Honeck, music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Here are some other performances, along with the only interview with Kleiber ever recorded and memories of him on the podium from a Met cellist:


  1. Alexander Werners site is carlos-kleiber.de

  2. Excellent post. Keep posting such kind of information on your site.
    Im really impressed by your blog.
    Hello there, You have done a fantastic job.
    I'll definitely digg it and personally recommend to
    my friends. I'm sure they will be benefited from this website.

  3. It is a great website.. The Design looks very good.. Keep working like that!. Assam Ration Card Status

  4. Thanks for your kind words, John. Glad you liked it!


Thanks for your comment. It should appear here shortly.