Nikisch, Arthur

1855-

 

Hungarian conductor of orchestra; born at Lebeny, Szent-Miklos, in 1855. His father was head bookkeeper for Prince Liechtenstein. Nikisch began his musical study at the age of six years when he was a pupil of Franz Prochazka of Butschowitz, and at eight appeared as a pianist in public. He entered the Vienna Conservatory in 1866 as a pupil of Dessoff and Hellmesberger. When thirteen years old won the gold medal for composition, first prize for violin-playing, and second prize for piano-playing. After seven years' study in the Conservatory he entered the Court Orchestra as violinist, and was under such famous masters as Wagner, Liszt, Rubinstein and Brahms. Secured his first engagement as conductor at the Leipsic Theatre, in 1877, where he remained for ten years as conductor of opera and of the Tonkunstler Versammlung. He was warmly welcomed when he came to America in 1889 to succeed Gericke as leader of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He remained in this country four years and then returned to Europe to become director of Royal Opera at Pesth and conductor of the Pesth Philharmonic Society concerts. In 1895 he resigned his positions in Pesth to take the leadership of the famous Gewandhaus concerts of Leipsic. In 1905 and 1906, in addition to his other work, he was director of the Leipsic Opera. He has also been conducting the Philharmonic of Berlin and traveling with the orchestra in France, Russia and Switzerland. Nikisch has visited London many times and wherever he has been he has met with the greatest triumph. His name will always f be closely associated with the musical life and development in Leipsic during the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century.