Mitja Nikisch

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Mitja Nikisch in 1922

Mitja Nikisch, a classical pianist and dance band leader, was born in Leipzig, Germany on May 21, 1899 and died in Venice, Italy on August 5, 1936.

Life[edit]

Mitja Nikisch was the son of celebrated orchestral conductor Arthur Nikisch and, like his father, became a fine interpreter of classical works. Nonetheless, while respected in that literature—he made his debut as piano soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra on April 22, 1918; performed with luminaries such as Wilhelm Furtwängler and Sir Henry J. Wood; and composed a piano concerto, completed shortly before his death—he was most celebrated as leader of a popular jazz band in Berlin during the Weimar Republic era. The band played in fashionable clubs and included some of the most admired popular performers in Germany of the day; prominent guitarist Otto Sachsenhauer described it as "the best dance band ever heard in Berlin." The ascendence of the Nazi Party in Germany put an end to the band, however; despairing, Nikisch committed suicide.

He had been married to and divorced from stage and film actress Nora Gregor.

Recordings[edit]

As a classical performer, Mitja Nikisch left some reproducing piano rolls and one commercial recording, a 1934 account of Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 20 in D Minor, K. 466, with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Rudolf Schulz-Dornburg. The Tahra label reissued it in 2007 as part of a set of 4 compact discs (TAHRA 595-598).

Recordings by the Mitja Nikisch Tanz Orchester included one in 1931 of the Nacio Herb Brown-Arthur Freed tune for the MGM film Lord Byron of Broadway, Should I (Reveal Exactly How I Feel), in German as Ich kann, ich will with vocalist Paul Dorn.

References[edit]

  • Furtwangler.net [1]
  • The Music Sack [2]
  • Music Web International review of Tahra 595-598 [3]
  • Nfo.net Big Bands Database Plus [4]
  • Rob Wilton Theatricalia Promenade Concert Programmes [5]
See also: Nikisch