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Curtis Mourns the Loss of the Legendary Otto-Werner Mueller

Curtis is devastated by the loss of Otto-Werner Mueller, the legendary maestro who is also widely regarded as the most important conducting pedagogue of the last 50 years. Mr. Mueller passed away at his home in Charlotte on February 25.

Curtis President Roberto Diaz recalls, "Otto was the definition of the word 'maestro' - he was an absolute master of the musical art form who brought new insights and nuance to every score he interpreted and every rehearsal he led. I know our students feel fortunate to have studied with him, not only because they learned deeply and profoundly about music, but because they understood he was also teaching them about life. Because of him, all of us at Curtis understand more fully the importance of respect, how to learn, and how to offer the very best of which we are capable."

Just a few of the hundreds of musicians who have been influenced by the Mr. Mueller commented on his indelible impact for this 2012 Overtones tribute.

At age nineteen, Mr. Mueller was appointed director of the chamber music department for Radio Stuttgart. He conducted opera and operetta for the Heidelberg Theater and founded and conducted an orchestra for families of United States military forces stationed there. After immigrating to Canada in 1951, he worked extensively for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He taught and conducted at the Montreal Conservatory; served as director of the Victoria Symphony and founder and dean of the Victoria School of Music; served as guest professor at the Moscow State Conservatory; and guest conducted the Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Riga symphony orchestras.

Mr. Mueller conducted in every major city in Canada and has had guest appearances with the Scottish National Orchestra; Krakow Philharmonic; and the National, Atlanta, Detroit, and Saint Louis symphony orchestras, among others. In addition to his faculty position at Curtis, Mr. Mueller taught at the Juilliard School, the Yale University School of Music, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He trained conductors of major orchestras--including the San Diego, Pittsburgh, and Fort Worth symphonies and the Swedish National Orchestra--and associate or assistant conductors of the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Minnesota orchestras; Boston and St. Louis symphonies; and Los Angeles and Munich philharmonics. His former Curtis students include Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic; Paavo Järvi, music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 2001-2011; Teddy Abrams, music director of the Louisville Orchestra; and Miguel Harth-Bedoya, music director of the Fort Worth Symphony. Mr. Mueller joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1986 and held the Rita E. and Gustave M. Hauser Chair in Conducting Studies.

"I tell my students that only by preparing and knowing everything about a score can they think of themselves as conductors," Mr. Mueller told the Philadelphia Inquirer in a 1987 interview. Mr. Mueller expected the utmost from the musicians he worked with. His unmatched intellect and his gentlemanly disposition will be missed at Curtis for years to come. The Curtis Institute of Music extends its most sincere condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and students, as we mourn the passing of this musical giant.


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(215) 717-3190

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