David Stahl (conductor)

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David Stahl conducting an open-air concert in Munich's Gärtnerplatz in September 2006

David Stahl (4 November 1949 – 24 October 2010)[1] was an American conductor who served as the music director and intendant of the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich and the Music Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. A student of Leonard Bernstein, he was famous for his interpretation of Mahler's works.[2]


Early life and family background[edit]

Stahl was born in New York City, the son of Jewish emigre parents. David Stahl's father, Frank L. Stahl, is an engineer who took part in the restoration of the Golden Gate Bridge in the 1980s. He was born in Fürth, Germany and attended the same elementary school as Henry Kissinger. Edith Stahl, David Stahl's mother, immigrated to New York in 1938 from Essen, Germany. David Stahl's grandfather, Dr. Leo Stahl (m. Anna Regensburger), was the Jewish Community Leader of Fürth during the Nazi era. Leo was interned in Dachau concentration camp from 11 November to 7 December 1938, and emigrated to England in 1939. Arriving in New York in 1947, he was, according to Das Schicksal der jüdischen Rechtsanwälte in Bayern nach 1933, by Reinhard Weber, unsuccessful in business and died there in 1952, aged 67. Frank's sister Liselotte, after a time in Manchester, England, also came to New York, where she died in 2007.

Professional career[edit]

Stahl studied conducting at Queens College, City University of New York.[3] After making his Carnegie Hall debut at age 23, he came under the tutelage of Leonard Bernstein, eventually taking over as music director of the Broadway production of West Side Story. In 1984, he became Music Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra; a position he remained in until his death 26 years later.[4] In 1996 he was invited to be guest conductor at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz. He assumed the title of Music Director there from 1999. He also worked frequently as a guest conductor of operas and musicals at major theatres around the world, including the Bavarian State Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the New York City Opera among others.[1]

As an enthusiast of Bernstein, he had been behind several revivals of Candide, including conducting an acclaimed 2003 German language production narrated by Loriot and a 2008 production in Charleston, South Carolina.[5] He was also involved in the staging of a notable production of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess in Charleston, the city where the opera is set, which went on to tour internationally in the early 1990s.[6] In 2009 he celebrated 25 years at CSO and 10 years at the Gärtnerplatz.

David Stahl died of lymphoma on October 24, 2010.[7] His wife, Karen, died in September 2010. The couple had two children, Anna and Byron. David had met Karen when his daughter from his first marriage, Sonya, became a student in Karen's kindergarten class at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary.[8]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Obituaries: Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz intendant David Stahl". Opera News. 75 (8). February 2011. 
  2. ^ * Crebbin, Tess (March 2006), "Baton Magician?". Music & Vision
  3. ^ Allen Hughes (April 5, 1979). "Music: Stahl Conducts" (PDF). The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Adam Parker (October 26, 2010). "Stahl's death throws another wrench in already complicated financial situation". The Post and Courier. 
  5. ^ Adam Parker (April 13, 2008). "'Candide' lives on with CSO reviving Bernstein's show". The Post and Courier. Archived from the original on 2008-05-08. 
  6. ^ Markland Taylor (April 17, 1994). "Porgy and Bess". Variety. 
  7. ^ ABC News 4, Charleston (Oct 25, 2010) "Charleston Symphony Orchestra Director, David Stahl, Dies" Archived 2012-03-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Adam Parker (November 14, 2010). "The Stahls remembered in song". The Post and Courier. 

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