We regret to share news of the death of Walter Weller, a concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic who became a widely-recorded international conductor. His wife, Sisi, shared the sad news today with colleagues in the UK.
Named joint concertmaster in Vienna with Willi Boskovsky at the age of 22, Walter also led his own string quartet until 1969. In 1966, he stepped in at sort notice for Karl Böhm and from then on conducted regularly at the Vienna State Opera and the Volksoper.
In 1977 he moved to Britain, becoming principal conductor first of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, then of the Royal Philharmonic in London and finally of the Scottish National Orchestra where he was so popular that his face appeared on a £50 Scottish banknote.
He made numerous recordings for Decca, EMI and Chandos, including a well-regarded Beethoven cycle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
He also held posts in Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Germany (Stuttgart). His repertoire was extensive, rooted in the Austro-German heartland but containing many unexpected passions. He loved the company of orchestral players and was a generous and affable host.
Last month Walter was in Korea, conducting the KBS Symphony, which he described as one of the best orchestras he had known. On his return he was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumour and the end was swift.
Our condolences to Sisi, and their son.