Ernst von Schuch (1846-1914).

  • Profession: Conductor.
  • Residences: Dresden.
  • Relation to Mahler:
  • Correspondence with Mahler: Yes.
  • Born: 23-11-1846 Graz, Austria.
  • Died: 10-05-1914 Niederlößnitz (now Radebeul), near Dresden, Germany.
  • Buried: 14-05-1914 Kötzschenbroda cemetery, near Dresden, Germany. Under great public participation, to the sounds of Wagner's funeral march from the opera "Götterdämmerung". There he is together with his wife Clementine Schuch-Prosska (1850-1932). Nearby is also the grave of their daughter Liesel.

Ernst Edler von Schuch, born Ernst Gottfried Schuch was an Austrian conductor who became famous through his working collaborations with Richard Strauss at the Dresden Court Opera. Schuch first studied law but then turned to music, trained at first by E. Stolz. He studied in Graz and later in Vienna, briefly with Felix Otto Dessoff, and started his conducting career in 1867 as Kapellmeister at Lobe's Theatre in Breslau while the Breslau Opera was out of action following a fire.

Coincidentally, a father and son with the same family name Schuch had built and run the first opera theatre in Breslau 120 years earlier.

There followed engagements in Würzburg (1868–1870), Graz (1870/1871) and Basle, until he was employed in 1872 by Pollini's Italian Opera for Dresden. There in 1872 he became Music director at the Court Opera, from 1873 Royal Kapellmeister with Julius Rietz, later with Franz Wüllner. In 1878, he was appointed Royal Professor.

In 1882 he undertook the direction of the Court Opera with the title of privy councillor, and in 1889 became its general music director. From 1882 onward, he lived in Niederlößnitz in the Weintraubenstraße (in 1883 renamed at his own suggestion as Schuchstraße 15/17). In 1898, he was ennobled by the Austrian emperor and in 1899 was appointed to the Saxon Confidential Privy Council. His period of influence is known as the Schuch era in operatic performing history.

Tours as guest conductor in Berlin, Munich, Vienna and Paris aside, he remained committed to Dresden until 1914, and made its opera house there into one of the leading musical stages of Europe. He created a surpassing ensemble and enlarged the orchestra to make it one of the greatest in the world. Specializing in the music-dramas of Wagner, he also led the original productions of the Richard Strauss operas Feuersnot (1901), Salome (1905), Elektra (1909) and Der Rosenkavalier (1911) as well as the first German productions of operas by Puccini and Mascagni. Also highly valued as a nonoperatic conductor, he was particularly known in the concert hall for his renditions of the orchestral works of Felix Draeseke and Strauss.

He married coloratura soprano Clementine von Schuch-Proska (Klementine Procházka) (1850-1932), who became an honorary member of Dresden's Royal Theatre Company. Their daughter Liesel von Schuch sang in Dresden (from 1914 on) and Vienna.

Ernst Edler von Schuch conducting Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss, 1912. Oil painting by Robert Sterl (Old National Gallery, Berlin).

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