Rudolf, Max, 1902-1995

Alternative names
Birth 1902-06-15
Death 1995-02-28
German, English

Biographical notes:

Max Rudolf (b. June 15, 1902, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; d. Feb. 28, 1995, Philadelphia, Penn.) was a German-born American conductor and music educator. He is best known for his work with the Metropolitan Opera, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the Curtis Institute of Music.

From the description of Max Rudolf papers, 1922-1993 (bulk 1945-1992). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 746316406

Biographical Note

Max Rudolf (1902-1995) was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on June 15, 1902. He began musical studies at age seven, learning piano, organ, cello, and trumpet. He began to compose at age eleven, and at thirteen, commenced professional musical studies with Bernard Sekles, remaining with this teacher for the next six years. Rudolf attended Frankfurt University and the Hochschule für Musik from 1921-1922, making his conducting debut in March 1923 at Freiburg in a production of Johann Strauss's opera Die Fledermaus . During the following years 1924-1929, he familiarized himself with standard operatic repertory while holding down posts at the Städtisches Theater (Freiburg) and at Darmstadt. Rudolf then became principal conductor of the German theater in Prague from 1929-1935, where he became acquainted with George Szell. He also appeared as guest conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (1929-1930). From 1935-1940, Rudolf resided in Göteborg, Sweden, while holding positions as choral director for the Orchestral Society and the Swedish Broadcasting Company.

He left Europe in October 1940, travelling east across Russia, Japan, and the Hawaiian Islands, finally arriving in San Francisco. He initially secured a position teaching conducting and score reading at the Music Department of the Y.M.C.A. College in Chicago, later moving to New York in December 1943, where he was eventually engaged by the New Opera Company for a production of Offenbach's operetta La Vie Parisienne . Rudolf became a naturalized American citizen in 1945. In the fall of 1945, Rudolf was hired as an assistant conductor with the Metropolitan Opera, his debut being the Gala Program Annual Benefit Concert on January 13, 1946. He served as both a conductor for the organization from 1946 to 1958 and as its assistant manager from 1950-1958. He held the post of music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1958-1970 and signed on as musical director for the Cincinnati May Festival from 1963-1970.

Rudolf joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1970, serving as head of the conducting and opera departments until 1973, after which time he returned to the Metropolitan Opera for an additional two seasons (1973-1975). Earlier, Rudolf had also returned to New York to participate in two historically significant Metropolitan Opera events: the Old Metropolitan Opera House Gala Farewell (April 16, 1966) and Rudolf Bing's Gala Farewell (April 22, 1972).

Throughout the 1970s, he served as artistic advisor to the Dallas, Detroit, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras, and continued to make regular guest appearances with several major American orchestras and opera houses well into his eighties. He rejoined the faculty of the Curtis Institute in 1983 and continued as an emeritus member until his death on February 28, 1995. In addition to his work as conductor and pedagogue, Rudolf recorded extensively and authored the conducting textbook The Grammar of Conducting (1950) that received further revisions in 1969, 1981, and 1995.

From the guide to the Max Rudolf Papers, 1922-1993, (bulk 1945-1992), (Music Division Library of Congress)


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  • Opera companies
  • Music--20th century
  • Conductors (Music)
  • Music teachers
  • Opera companies--New York (State)--New York
  • Music--United States--20th century


  • Conductor


  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)