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Austrian musician, conductor and composer.

Career Summary

Spörr received training from Joseph Friedrich Hummel and Josef Pembaur the elder in the Musikverein School in Innsbruck 1879–83 and from Robert Fuchs in Vienna. He played French horn and double bass 1883–85 in the Innsbruck City Theater Orchestra, and taught at the music school there 1888–99. In 1893 he founded the Innsbruck City Orchestra, which he directed until 1899 and which was called to Graz that year to strengthen the recently founded orchestra of the Graz Musikerbund, founded in 1872, and which existed under Spörr's leadership as the Graz Symphony Orchestra until 1902. From 1903 to 1905 he was the musical director of the Karlsbad Philharmonic Orchestra, guest conducting there for the last time in 1933. In 1903/04 he also conducted the Kurkapelle in Baden.

In 1905 he became the permanent conductor of the Vienna Concert Union Orchestra (Wiener Symphoniker), conducting not only the Popular Symphony Concerts series in the Musikverein and in the Volksgarten, but also symphonic concerts in Bad Kissingen (Germany) during the summer from 1906 to 1918. From 1922 to 1932 he was the administrative director of the "Verein Wiener Sinfonie-Orchester," a union he founded between musicians from the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra and the Vienna Concert Union. He conducted the summer concerts in the Burggarten in Vienna's first district until 1932, and conducted otherwise only on a substitute basis. Spörr was not only highly knowledgeable as a musician, a conductor, and an interpreter of numerous modern works, but also valued as an organizer.

Martin Spörr and Schenker

Spörr is mentioned many times in Schenker's diary between 1908 and 1932. The first reference is on January 19, 1908, when clearly the two men knew each other well enough for Spörr to comment adversely on Ferdinand Löwe's method of conducting. In October 1912 Spörr sent word via Moriz Violin that Schenker's works were highly acclaimed in Jena. On October 26, 1923, Schenker reported: "Encountered Spörr while still on the stairs; he tells me that he has become the financial manager of the orchestra and saved it from collapse, even put aside the subsidy from the city of Vienna." On February 1, 1925 Spörr and his wife came to the Schenkers for tea. On February 28, 1928 Schenker chatted with Spörr in Hopfner's restaurant. In February 1929 at Bamberger's request he wrote a recommendation on his behalf to Spörr.

Schenker had many opportunities to hear him conduct orchestral concerts either live or on the radio. He was often disparaging: of his performance of Mozart's G minor Symphony: "hacked to pieces and defiled in the most Turkish manner" (December 1, 1912), a Haydn symphony: "thoroughly lifeless" (October 8, 1925), Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony: "miserably ground out" (November 15, 1925), Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony: "an incomprehensible rattling" (February 10, 1927).


There is no surviving correspondence between Spörr and Schenker, nor is any recorded in Schenker's diary.


  • OeML Online (Uwe Harten)


  • Marko Deisinger and Ian Bent

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