Georg Tintner

Georg (Bernhard) Tintner. Conductor, b Vienna 22 May 1917, d Halifax 2 Oct 1999; Composition Diploma (Vienna State Academy) 1935, Conducting Diploma (Vienna Academy) 1937, honorary LLD (Dalhousie) 1989, honorary LLD (St Francis Xavier) 1995, honorary DU (Griffith University, Australia) 1998.

Tintner, Georg

Georg (Bernhard) Tintner. Conductor, b Vienna 22 May 1917, d Halifax 2 Oct 1999; Composition Diploma (Vienna State Academy) 1935, Conducting Diploma (Vienna Academy) 1937, honorary LLD (Dalhousie) 1989, honorary LLD (St Francis Xavier) 1995, honorary DU (Griffith University, Australia) 1998. Tintner sang 1926-30 with the Vienna Boys Choir, which also provided conducting experience and performed some of his compositions. He studied conducting with Felix Weingartner and composition with Joseph Marx; at 15 he trained the Vienna Boys Choir for a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 under Bruno Walter.

Tintner became assistant conductor at the Vienna Volksoper in 1937 but in the wake of the Anschluss he emigrated in 1938, settling in New Zealand in 1940. There he held non-musical jobs before directing the Auckland Choral Society 1947-53 and the Auckland String Players 1948-53. He was resident conductor for the National Opera of Australia 1954-6, the Elizabethan Theatre Trust Opera (later the Australian Opera) 1957-65 and 1965-7, returning to New Zealand as music director of the New Zealand Opera, Wellington, in 1964. He conducted the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra 1966-7 and the Sadler's Wells Opera 1967-70 before returning to Australia as music director of the West Australian Opera Company 1970-4. Tintner rejoined the Australian Opera 1974-6, where his performances of Fidelio won special praise, and he conducted the Queensland Theatre Orchestra in Brisbane 1976-87 and in a performance of La Bohème 1991. Tintner appeared also in New York, Detroit, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hong Kong, London, Oxford, and Singapore.

In 1971 Tintner began a long association with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYO), serving as guest musical director and conductor for eight sessions by 1989. He moved to Canada in 1987 to become music director and resident conductor of Symphony Nova Scotia, remaining there until 1994, after which he was conductor laureate. He began conducting the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra in 1988. In 1989 he conducted the Toronto Symphony in the finals for the CBC National Competition for Young Performers, led the NYO in a five-province tour, and conducted the Canadian Opera Company 's tour of The Marriage of Figaro in the Maritimes with Symphony Nova Scotia and in Ontario with Orchestra London Canada. In Canada he conducted the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, the Chamber Players of Toronto, and the Calgary Philharmonic. Tintner also appeared with the Orchestre des jeunes du Québec and the Canadian Chamber Orchestra of the Banff Centre for the Arts, and was principal guest conductor of the Prince George Symphony Orchestra in the late 1990s.

With the NYO in 1982 Tintner recorded the North American premiere of the original 1887 version of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 (2-Jubal 5003/4). In 1989 following a tour with the Canadian Brass and principal brass players from the New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony, he joined these artists in a recording of works by Beethoven (Philips 426-487-2 CD). He had earlier recorded works by Alfred Hill, Felix Gethen, Kurt Weill, and others with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Festival Records, and the World Record Club. His lectures on composers to the NYO in 1974 were released by CBC in 1977 and broadcast throughout North America and Australasia. He made several recordings in the 1990s, including the Prince George Symphony Orchestra's first (1998), and others with the Symphony Nova Scotia. Also in that period, he received praise for his recordings on the Naxos label with the national orchestras of Ireland, Scotland, and New Zealand of the complete symphonies of Bruckner including rarely used original editions. The cycle was nominated for an East Coast Music Award in 2001; his Late Romantics (CBC SMCD 5167), recorded with the Symphony Nova Scotia, won a 1998 East Coast Music Award.

Tintner was honoured with the commemorative medal for the 125th anniversary of Confederation, awards from his native Austria in 1993 and 1994, and the Portia White Prize in 1999 from the Nova Scotia Arts Council. The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts made him a fellow in 1995. He was a Member of the Order of Canada. At the time of his death, he was still active as a guest conductor.

Tintner's approach to music and musicians has been described as firm yet humane. His large symphonic and operatic repertoire favoured classical and romantic works. He had a special affinity with the music of Mozart and Bruckner. Tintner's compositions included The Ellipse for string quartet and high voice; Sonata for violin and piano (both unpublished); solo piano music; a string trio; some choral and orchestral music; and a number of songs.


Further Reading

  • Greene, Trevor. 'Chance. Necessity. And Georg Tintner,' Cities (Halifax-Dartmouth), vol 2, Oct 1988

    Pedersen, Stephen. 'Tintner town,' Music, vol 12, Sep-Oct 1989

    Lawley, Sarah. 'A maestro in the Maritimes,' Imperial Oil R, vol 74, Fall 1990

    Lasker, David. "Baton-slinger Tintner honoured in Halifax: conductor praised for superb Bruckner cycle," Globe and Mail, 10 Mar 1999

    Beaton, Virginia. "Redeemed from a lifetime of neglect," Globe and Mail, 28 Mar 1998

    Bell, Stewart. "He died as he lived," National Post, 12 Oct 1999

    The New Grove Dictionary