Joseph Rosenstock

Joseph Rosenstock (27 January 1895 in Kraków – 17 October 1985 in New York) was a Polish Jewish conductor.


Early years

He worked at the State Opera in Wiesbaden before being brought into the Metropolitan Opera in New York City to replace Artur Bodanzky in 1928. However, he received such poor critical reviews that he himself resigned after only six performances and Bodanzky was brought back.

Jüdischer Kulturbund, 1933-1936

Returning to Germany, he worked in Mannheim and, from 1933–1936, as conductor of the Berlin Jüdischer Kulturbund, notably conducting the (all-Jewish) German premiere of Verdi's Nabucco on 4 April 1935.[1][2]

Tokyo, 1936-1946

Rosenstock left Berlin in 1936 and moved to Japan to conduct the Japan Symphony Orchestra (which had been founded in 1926 and became the NHK Symphony Orchestra in 1951).[3] He remained in Tokyo until 1946 and while he was there he taught Hideo Saito (Conductor, educator and co-founder of the Toho Gakuen School of Music) and Masashi Ueda (Conductor of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, who introduced contemporary Russian, American and Japanese music to the public), and Roh Ogura how to conduct Beethoven's symphonies.

New York, 1948-1969

In 1948 Rosenstock returned to New York to work as a conductor with the New York City Opera (NYCO), debuting with Le nozze di Figaro. In 1951 he notably conducted the world premieres of David Tamkin's The Dybbuk.

In January 1952 Rosenstock succeeded Laszlo Halász as General Director of the NYCO. He served in that post for four seasons, during which time he continued in Halász's steps of scheduling innovative programs with unusual repertoire mixed in with standard works. He notably staged the world premiere of Aaron Copland's The Tender Land, the New York premiere of William Walton's Troilus and Cressida, and the United States premieres of Gottfried von Einem's The Trial and Béla Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle.[4] Rosenstock was also the first NYCO director to include musical theatre in the company's repertoire with a 1954 production of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's Show Boat. This decision was ridiculed by the Press but Rosenstock felt justified as the production played to a packed house. Meanwhile, the company's production of Donizetti's opera Don Pasquale that season only sold 35 percent of the house seats.[5]

Rosenstock returned to the Met on 31 January 1961 to conduct Tristan und Isolde and became a regular member of the Met conducting staff until his last performance conducting Die Meistersinger on 13 February 1969. During those eight years he conducted 248 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, including a number of Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast performances.


  1. Lily E. Hirsch. A Jewish orchestra in Nazi Germany: musical politics and the Berlin Jewish
  2. Gundula Kreuzer Verdi and the Germans: From Unification to the Third Reich
  3. Jonathan Goldstein The Jews of China: Volume 2 - Page 80 1999 "At the time, the conductor of the premier symphony orchestra in Japan, the Japan Symphony Orchestra (renamed the NHK Symphony) — was Joseph Rosenstock, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. In spite of strong protests from the German embassy in Tokyo, Rosenstock was not ..."
  4. "New Man at the Center". TIME. January 9, 1956. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
  5. Allan Kozinn (July 25, 1993). "CLASSICAL MUSIC; City Opera Turns 50, But Who's Counting?". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2009.

External links

Preceded by
Niklaus Aeschbacher
Principal Conductors, NHK Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Wilhelm Loibner
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