Former LPO director Klauspeter Seibel remembered

Former LPO director Klauspeter Seibel remembered

Published: Monday, January 10, 2011, 4:34 PM     Updated: Monday, January 10, 2011, 7:09 PM
John Pope, The Times-Picayune By John Pope, The Times-Picayune

Klauspeter Seibel, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra’s first music director, has died.

Klauspeter Seibel rehearing with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2004.

Here are reminiscences from his friends and colleagues:

“Klauspeter Seibel had a tremendous effect on the sound of the LPO. . . . He was a master at shaping and refining the sound of an orchestra, focusing with incredible precision on small technical details and nuances as well as overarching stylistic and musical issues. His powers of perception, musical insight and musicianship never ceased to amaze me and my colleagues. Klauspeter was truly one of the greatest musicians I’ve ever known.”

— Jim Atwood, LPO timpanist and the orchestra’s president during Seibel’s first year as music director.

“His training in the great tradition of German conductors, combined with his outgoing personality, engaging style, and excellent English, made Klauspeter an instant success in America. . . . His knowledge of the entire spectrum of the orchestral and operatic repertoires, both standard and contemporary, was immense. We at Schmidt Artists also had the privilege and joy of knowing Klauspeter and his entire family.”

— Michal Schmidt, Seibel’s manager.

“Emel (Songu Mize) and I had the good fortune of being close personal friends with Klauspeter and recently visited with him over the holidays where he talked of the many fond memories he had of New Orleans and the LPO. Klauspeter was an extraordinary man – a superb conductor, a great scholar of the classical repertoire, and, most importantly, a loving and caring friend to many of us. He contributed enormously to the development of the LPO while maintaining an important international career.”

— Drs. R. Ranney and Emel Songu Mize are the founding co-chairs of the Seibel Society, which underwrites the fees of young soloists and conductors who perform with the orchestra and helps pay musicians’ salaries.

“Klauspeter . . . viewed the LPO musicians as partners with whom he sought, with great success, to advance the orchestra to new levels of artistic excellence. In recent years, even while undergoing medical treatment, his twice yearly appearances as Principal Guest Conductor were pilgrimages of love and devotion. We have lost a superb musical leader and a dear friend.”

— Hugh Long. LPO Board President



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