Karl Rankl

Conductor and composer; born 1 October 1898 in Gaaden near Vienna, died 6 September 1968 in St. Gilgen near Salzburg.


The conductor and composer Karl Franz Rankl was born in 1898 in Gaaden near Vienna. Between 1918 and 1921 he studied with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and he was also a close friend of Hanns Eisler. From 1922 to 1925 Rankl was repeiteur and chorus master for Volksoper Vienna, he later worked as conductor and repetiteur at Liberec, Königsberg and finally at Krolloper Berlin from 1928. In 1931 Rankl became Kappellmeister in Wiesbaden, moving to Graz as Music Director from 1933 to 1937 and finally to Prague from 1937 to 1939.

In 1939 he emigrated to Bristol in the United Kingdom, becoming interned as an ‘enemy alien’ on the Isle of Man in 1940. Rankl then worked principally on his compositions in Oxford until 1944 when he began conducting again at the BBC and with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Between 1946 and 1952 he was Music Director of the Royal Opera House, conducted a complete Wagner Ring cycle as well as Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten and the world premiere of The Olympians by Arthur Bliss.

In 1952 Rankl became Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, moving to the Elizabethan Opera Company, Sydney in 1958 where he remained until 1960. He composed many orchestral works and Lieder as well the opera Deirdre of the Sorrows. Rankl died in 1968 in St. Gilgen near Salzburg.

Links and sources

Karl Rankl in the University of Hamburg online database of musicians persecuted during the Nazi Period

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