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Austrian violinist, conductor and composer.

Career Summary

Son of Josef Hellmesberger, sen., the founder of the Hellmesberger String Quartet, Josef Hellmesberger, jun. made his name first as a solo violinist. By 1878 he was a violinist with the Vienna court band and the Court Opera, and from that year to 1902 he was a professor of violin at the Vienna Conservatory. In 1891 he succeeded his father as the first violin of the String Quartet.

After several minor conducting positions, he was appointed chief conductor at the Vienna court in 1890. He first conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 1900, and became its principal conductor in succession to Gustav Mahler in 1901, scandal forcing him to resign from that position in 1903 and later from his court appointment. Only success as an operetta composer thereafter saved him from ruin.

Hellmesberger and Schenker

There was brief contact between the two men in 1903, when Schenker was submitting a work of his for tryout by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Nothing seems to have come from this, perhaps because Hellmesberger's enforced resignation intervened. One letter from Hellmesberger to Schenker survives (OJ 11/46, [1], Sept 22, 1903).


  • Grove Music Online

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