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Exiled German-speaking intellectuals in Southern California: Bruno Walter

During the 1930s and 1940s, many German Jews and intellectuals fled Nazi Germany. This LibGuide provides information about German-speaking intellectuals who found refuge in Southern California

  Bruno Walter (1876-1962)

Bruno Walter's years in Southern California: 1945?-1962.


The conductor Bruno Walter (born Bruno Walter Schlesinger) played an important role in the development of musical life in Los Angeles. Walter's conducting career began in 1894 in Cologne and was followed by prestigious appointments to the Munich State Opera and Berlin State Opera. While in Munich Bruno Walter and Thomas Mann met and become close friends; their friendship was later rekindled when both lived in Southern California. In 1933 Walter was forced from his position as the director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. He left Germany emigrating to Austria where he served as director of the state opera from 1936-1938, before moving to France. In 1939 he crossed the Atlantic for the United States. During the next twenty years Walter conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic (where he served as musical adviser from 1947-49). He also conducted frequently at the Metropolitan Opera between 1941 and 1957.

When Walter returned to Europe as a guest conductor after the end of the Second World War, he met with great success. In the years following 1947, Walter returned several times to Europe to conduct in Edinburgh, Salzburg, Vienna, and Munich. As a conductor Walter is best remembered for his promotion of Mahler and interpretion of Mozart's works.

Bruno Walter lived at 608 N. Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills.



Encyclopaedia Britannica. Biographisches Lexikon zur Weimarer Republik. Edited by Wolfgang Benz and Hermann Graml. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1988.

Ronald Crichton. "Bruno Walter" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by Stanley Sadie. Vol. 20. London: MacMillan, 1980.

Thomas Mann. Tagebücher 1940-1943. Edited by Peter de Mendelssohn. Frankfurt: Fischer, 1982.

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Michaela Ullmann
Michaela Ullmann Head, Instruction & Assessment