Walter Weller (born 30 November 1939) is an Austrian conductor and violinist.
Weller was born in Vienna, Austria where he first gained renown as a prodigy on the violin. His father, also named Walter, was a violinist in the Vienna Philharmonic, and at the age of 17, the young Weller became a member, and by the unusually early age of 22 he had become joint concertmaster with Willi Boskovsky. He remained in this post for 11 years.
While leading the orchestra, Weller also established and led his own string quartet from 1958 to 1969. In 1966 he married Elisabeth Samohyl with whom he had a son.
Weller’s first engagements as a conductor were in 1966, deputising at short notice for Karl Böhm in Beethoven’s Pastoral and Franz Schubert’s Great C Major symphonies and Josef Krips Johannes Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Claudio Arrau and Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony.
From 1969 Weller conducted regularly at the Vienna Volksoper and the Vienna State Opera.
After this he conducted in Duisburg, Germany. In 1977 he relocated to Great Britain to become principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. This was followed by stints with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from 1980 to 1986 and from 1992 to 1997 with the Scottish National Orchestra where he remains Conductor Emeritus. The Bank of Scotland honoured Weller by printing his portrait on a special 50 pound note. He was the last Chief Conductor of the Basel Symphony Orchestra (before that ensemble joined with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Basel to form the Sinfonieorchester Basel) and General Music Director Allgemeine Basler Musikgesellshaft (site in German) from 1994 until 1997 overlapping with his appointment as the principal guest conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra from 1987 until 2002.
Weller became Music Director of the National Orchestra of Belgium (NOB) in 2007. He is scheduled to step down from the NOB music directorship in 2012 and to take the title of Honorary Conductor. In 2010, he became the first honorary conductor of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra.
He is currently conductor laureate of the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra (site in German) and Associate Director of the Valencia Orchestra.
The Weller Quartet’s recordings for Decca Records included Haydn’s complete Op 33, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Alban Berg and Dmitri Shostakovich. Weller’s recording début as a conductor was with the Suisse Romande Orchestra, in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 9. His Decca cycle of the Sergei Prokofiev symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra has remained available on LP and CD.
Maestro Weller has collected many prizes and awards amongst which is the Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for services to the Republic of Austria, bestowed on him in 1998.
- The Gramophone, February 1973
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