Paul Kletzki (21 March 1900 – 5 March 1973) was a Polish conductor and composer.
Born Paweł Klecki in Łódź, Poland, he later adopted the German spelling Paul Kletzki. He joined its Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of fifteen. After serving in the First World War, he studied philosophy at the University of Warsaw before moving to Berlin in 1921 to continue his studies. During the 1920s his compositions were championed by Arturo Toscanini; and Wilhelm Furtwängler, who permitted Kletzki to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1925. Because he was Jewish, he left Nazi Germany in 1933 and moved to Italy, however due to the anti-semitism of the Italian Fascist regime he moved to the Soviet Union in 1936. He later went to live in Switzerland.
Kletzki's most notable work is his Third Symphony, completed in October 1939, with the subtitle 'In memoriam'. It is an elegiac work interpreted as a moving monument to the victims of Nazism. Other works include three string quartets, a Sinfonietta for strings, a Fantasy for piano, and a sonata for violin and piano. From 1942 onwards Kletzki wrote no more compositions; he argued that Nazism had destroyed his spirit and his will to compose. During the Holocaust a number of Kletzki's family were murdered by the Nazis including his parents and his sister.
In the post-war years Kletzki was a renowned conductor, especially of Gustav Mahler. In 1954 he was appointed chief conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Between 1958 and 1961 he was principal conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. From 1966 until 1970 he was the General Music Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
- "Nachlassverzeichniss Paul Klecki" (PDF). Retrieved September 1, 2012., lists 3 string quartets, Op.1 in A minor, Op.13 in C minor, Op.23 in D minor, copyright 1923, 1925, 1931.
- Paul Kletzki at AllMusic
- Kletzki biography at NAXOS.com
- František Sláma (musician) Archive. More on the history of the Czech Philharmonic between the 1940s and the 1980s: Conductors
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