Franz-Paul Decker

Peacefully, in his ninetieth year, conductor Franz-Paul Decker died on Monday, May 19. A native of the Rhineland, he studied composition and conducting at the Cologne Hochschule für Musik and was a graduate of the University of Cologne. He made his conducting début with the Cologne Opera at the young age of 22. Four years later, he was called to Wiesbaden where he undertook the musical direction of both the Wiesbaden Symphony and the Staatsoper.

Subsequently, he became music director of the Bochum Symphony Orchestra and in 1962, accepted the position of music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic where he gained international recognition.
Maestro Decker’s North American career began in 1965 with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. In 1967, he was chosen to succeed Zubin Mehta as Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for nine years. He then became artistic advisor to the Calgary Philharmonic and the Winnipeg Symphony. He was a regular guest conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra where he was Principal Guest Conductor from 1991 to 1999.

Maestro Decker was the Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona, where he had been Music Director from 1986 to 1992. In September 1995 he was named Conductor Laureate of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with whom he had enjoyed a highly acclaimed association of 30 years as well as holding the position of Principal Conductor from 1990 to 1994. He was a frequent conductor of operatic productions.

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