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Leo Wurmser

Conductor and pianist; born in Vienna in 1905.

Biography

Leo studied in Vienna with the composer Franz Schmidt and worked as a repetiteur at the Dresden and Vienna opera houses before emigrating to Britain in 1938 after the Nazi annexation of Austria.

Having previously worked at the opera house in Covent Garden between 1934 and 1935 he was given a work permit. Before the war, Wurmser worked as a coach, singing teacher and conductor for various opera companies, and as an accompanist and conductor for the BBC from 1938. He also arranged music for the theatre. In 1940 he was interned in Press Heath and on the Isle of Man.

After the end of the Second World War Leo became conductor of the BBC Midland Light Orchestra in Birmingham and also worked for the publishers Kalmus. He conducted several works by his teacher Franz Schmidt in Britain. Leo remained in Britain right up until his death in the 1970s.