Rudolf, Max, 1902-1995

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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)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Peters, Roberta, 1930-. Roberta Peters collection, 1881-1998 (bulk 1951-1998). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Philadelphia Orchestra. Transcription of WFLN radio broadcast [sound recording], 1973 December 14 and 15. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Philadelphia Orchestra. Transcription of WFLN radio broadcast [sound recording], 1970 August 21. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Eugene Weintraub papers, 1929-1992 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn Pensacola Music Association Records, 1947-1964 University of West Florida Libraries
creatorOf Max Rudolf Papers, 1922-1993, (bulk 1945-1992) Library of Congress. Music Division
referencedIn Weintraub, Eugene. Eugene Weintraub papers, 1929-1992. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Wagner, Richard, 1813-1883. Tristan prelude concert ending / Max Rudolf Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library
referencedIn Conductors Guild records, 1975-1997 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn Marguerite Yourcenar papers, 1920-1986. Houghton Library
referencedIn Letterio Calapai Papers, 1932-1989 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Rudolf, Max, 1902-1995. Correspondence with Eugene Ormandy, 1972-1980. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Max Rudolf scrapbook. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, The Main Library
referencedIn Roberta Peters collection, 1881-1998, 1951-1998 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn George Balanchine archive, 1924-1989 (inclusive), 1961-1983 (bulk). Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Ruby Mercer Collection. Transcripts of taped interviews with Max Rudolf concerning Edward Johnson's years at the Met. University of Guelph
referencedIn Marguerite Yourcenar additional papers, 1842-1996. Houghton Library
creatorOf Rudolf, Max, 1902-1995. Max Rudolf papers, 1922-1993 (bulk 1945-1992). Library of Congress
creatorOf Philadelphia Orchestra. Transcription of WFLN radio broadcast [sound recording], 1962 March 23. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Photographs of the Metropolitan Opera [graphic] / Harry G. Schumer, ca. 1945-1965 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
creatorOf Borkow, Albert L.,. Collection : of autographed photographs, 1954-1980. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Conductors' Guild (American Symphony Orchestra League). Conductors Guild Records 1975-1997 New York Public Library System, NYPL
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Symphony Orchestra League. corporateBody
correspondedWith Balanchine, George. person
correspondedWith Barber, Samuel, 1910-1981 person
correspondedWith Bing, Rudolf, 1902-1997 person
associatedWith Borkow, Albert L., person
associatedWith Calapai, Letterio, 1902- person
associatedWith Conductors' Guild (American Symphony Orchestra League) corporateBody
associatedWith Curtis Institute of Music. corporateBody
correspondedWith Dallapiccola, Luigi, 1904-1975 person
correspondedWith Dello Joio, Norman, 1913-2008 person
correspondedWith Diamond, David, 1915-2005 person
correspondedWith Dorati, Antal person
correspondedWith Gould, Glenn person
correspondedWith Leinsdorf, Erich, 1912-1993 person
correspondedWith Levine, James, 1943- person
correspondedWith Levin, Ira, 1958- person
correspondedWith Menotti, Gian Carlo, 1911-2007 person
associatedWith Metropolitan Opera (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Ormandy, Eugene, 1899-1985 person
associatedWith Pensacola Music Association corporateBody
associatedWith Peters, Roberta, 1930- person
associatedWith Philadelphia Orchestra. corporateBody
associatedWith Ruby Mercer Collection. corporateBody
correspondedWith Schuller, Gunther person
correspondedWith Schuller, Gunther person
correspondedWith Schuman, William, 1910-1992 person
associatedWith Schumer, Harry G person
correspondedWith Serkin, Rudolf, 1903-1991 person
correspondedWith Stern, Isaac, 1920-2001 person
correspondedWith Szell, George, 1897-1970 person
associatedWith Wagner, Richard, 1813-1883. person
correspondedWith Walter, Bruno, 1876-1962 person
associatedWith Weintraub, Eugene person
associatedWith Weintraub, Eugene. person
correspondedWith Yourcenar, Marguerite. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
United States
Opera companies
Music--20th century
Conductors (Music)
Music teachers
Opera companies--New York (State)--New York
Music--United States--20th century


Birth 1902-06-15

Death 1995-02-28






Ark ID: w6k0736p

SNAC ID: 12099492