André Cluytens |

André Cluytens |

André Cluytens

Date of birth
Date of death

André Cluytens |

It seemed that fate itself had brought Andre Kluitens to the conductor’s stand. Both his grandfather and his father were conductors, but he himself began as a pianist, graduating from the Antwerp Conservatory at the age of sixteen in the class of E. Boske. Kluitens then joined the local Royal Opera House as a pianist-accompanist and director of the choir. He tells the following about his debut as a conductor: “I was 21 years old when one Sunday my father, the conductor of the same theater, suddenly fell ill. What to do? Sunday – all theaters are open, all conductors are busy. The director decided to take a desperate step: he offered the young accompanist to take a risk. The “Pearl Seekers” were on… In the end, all the Antwerp authorities unanimously declared: Andre Kluytens is a born conductor. Gradually, I began to replace my father at the conductor’s stand; when he retired from the theater in his old age, I finally took his place.

In later years, Kluitens performed exclusively as an opera conductor. He directs theaters in Toulouse, Lyon, Bordeaux, gaining strong recognition in France. In 1938, the case helped the artist to make his debut on the symphony stage: in Vichy he had to hold a concert from the works of Beethoven instead of Krips, who was forbidden to leave Austria occupied by the Germans. In the next decade, Kluytens conducted opera performances and concerts in Lyon and Paris, was the first performer of a number of works by French authors – J. Francais, T. Aubin, J.J. Grunenwald, A. Jolivet, A. Busse, O. Messiaen, D. Millau and others.

The heyday of the creative activity of Kluytens comes at the end of the forties. He becomes the head of the Opera Comique Theater (1947), conducts at the Grand Opera, leads the orchestra of the Society of Concerts of the Paris Conservatory, makes long foreign tours covering Europe, America, Asia and Australia; he has the honor of being the first French conductor to be invited to perform in Bayreuth, and since 1955 he has appeared more than once at the console of the Bayreuth Theater. Finally, in 1960, one more title was added to his numerous titles, perhaps especially dear to the artist – he became the head of the National Symphony Orchestra in his native Belgium.

The artist’s repertoire is large and varied. He was famous as an excellent performer of operas and symphonic works by Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner. But the love of the public brought Cluytens first of all the interpretation of French music. In his repertoire – all the best that was created by French composers of the past and present. The conductor’s appearance of the artist was marked by a purely French charm, grace and elegance, enthusiasm and ease of the process of making music. All these qualities were clearly manifested during the conductor’s repeated tours in our country. It is not for nothing that the works of Berlioz, Bizet, Franck, Debussy, Ravel, Duke, Roussel occupied a central place in his programs. Criticism rightly found in his art “the seriousness and depth of artistic intentions”, “the ability to captivate the orchestra”, noted his “plastic, extremely precise and expressive gesture.” “Speaking to us in the language of art,” I. Martynov wrote, “he directly introduces us to the world of thoughts and feelings of great composers. All the means of his high professional skill are subordinated to this.

L. Grigoriev, J. Platek

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