Moritz von Bomhard, Conductor/Composer
Not that we’re keeping score, but few champions for the arts have made a local impact like Moritz Bomhard. The accomplished director/composer played a major role in Louisville’s music scene … and takes center stage in this Et Cetera.
German-born Moritz von Bomhard thought opera was “the most wonderful thing in the world.” He studied music at Leipzig and Julliard … and taught at Princeton and Columbia Universities. He became a U.S. citizen in 1942.
Starting in 1949, Moritz Bomhard came to the River City annually to direct operas for the University of Louisville. The performances were an instant hit with audiences.
In 1952, at the request of U of L’s dean of music and many others, he moved to Louisville and founded the Kentucky Opera - one of the first regional opera companies in America.
In the beginning, Maestro Bomhard not only directed and composed for the Opera … he designed and built sets, produced brochures, and did whatever else was needed to ensure its success.
Maestro presented at least one Louisville premiere each year. The 1950s alone saw five world premieres.
Maestro also found up-and-coming talent in New York City for a song. Several of the young singers went on to international careers.
Mortiz Bomhard retired from Kentucky Opera in 1982. The following year, the Kentucky Center for the Arts opened the Bomhard Theater in his honor.
Bomhard died in Salzburg, Austria, in 1996 - at age 88. He moved back to Europe two years before his death.
He is remembered not only for his talent … but for his charisma and wit.
More on Moritz Bomhard:
- According to The Encyclopedia of Louisville, Maestro was born in Munich, Germany, June 19, 1908, and his full name was Heinrich Hans Claus Moritz Von Bomhard.
- The Kentucky Opera is the State Opera of Kentucky.
- Venues for the Opera have included the Columbia Auditorium (now Spalding University Auditorium), Macauley Theatre (now W.L. Lyons Brown Theatre) and the Whitney Hall at the Kentucky Center.
- Today, the intimate Bomhard Theater is the home of Stage One, Louisville’s family theater.
- Program 312
- Father-and-son columnists Byron and Eric Crawford, Chef Dean Corbett, Pyro Gallery art co-op and opera legend Moritz Bomhard. (#312)