Paul Kletzki

Paul Kletzki (born Paweł Klecki on 21 March 1900 in Łódź, Poland – died on 5 March 1973 in Liverpool, United Kingdom) was a Polish conductor and composer.[1]

Paul Kletzki
Paul Kletzki in 1965.
Background information
Native name
Paweł Klecki
Born21 March 1900
Łódź, Poland
DiedMarch 5, 1973(1973-03-05) (aged 72)
Liverpool, United Kingdom


Paul Kletzki joined the Łódź Philharmonic at the age of fifteen as a violonist.[1] 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 Milan, Italy, where he taught composition.[1] Due to the anti-semitism of the Italian Fascist regime he moved to the Soviet Union in 1936.

During the Holocaust a number of Kletzki's family were murdered by the Nazis including his parents and his sister. In 1946, he participated to the reopening of La Scala in Milan.[1]

In 1949, he became a Swiss citizen.[1]

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. In 1955, he conducted for the first recordings of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.[1] Between 1958 and 1961 he was principal conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. From 1967 until 1970 he was the General Music Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.[1]

He died on 5 March 1973 at 72 years old after collapsing during a rehearsal at the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.[1]


Most of Paul Kletzki's compositions were destroyed during World War II.[1]

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,[2] 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.


  1. "Paul Kletzki, 72, conductor, dead". 7 March 1973.
  2. "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.
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Walter Hendl
Music Directors, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Georg Solti

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