"I don’t want to make my personal, human development dependent on prestige."

(Franz Welser-Möst)

“The musician has to leave his ego behind him so that he can let the music happen.” These are the words with which Felix Breisach begins his portrait of conductor Franz Welser-Möst. It is a truly apt characterization of the musician, who, with talent, diligence, humility and stamina, worked his way up from the second violin section of the Linz Musikgymnasium to his current status as one of the world’s great conductors.


The year 2010 is a landmark year for the Austrian conductor. He celebrates his 50th birthday and, with Dominique Meyer, is taking over the reins of the Vienna State Opera. He will be assuming the post of General Music Director at this prestigious theater, where he recently conducted a feverishly applauded Ring cycle. At the turn of the year 2010/2011, he will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Concert.


Over the course of three years, Breisach repeatedly accompanied the conductor with his camera, recording him rehearsing at the Wiener Staatsoper and at the Opernhaus Zürich, where he was Music Director and Principal Conductor from 1995 to 2005. He is also shown conducting Bruckner with the Cleveland Orchestra (whose Music Director he became in 2002) at the splendid Art-Deco Severance Hall, at the Baroque Abbey of St. Florian, near Linz, and at Vienna’s Musikverein.


While comments by various musical personalities shed light on the conductor’s personality, it is above all Welser-Möst’s tranquil, modest conversational style and his down-to-earth normalcy that capture the viewer’s attention. Filmed hiking in the mountains or at his cabin on Lake Attersee, Welser-Möst stresses the importance of nature in his life: “In nature, I can experience silence directly. And music develops from silence.” A gentle star who has set out to tame the world’s most demanding, discriminating and glamorous orchestras.

Felix Breisach
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