Karajan’s fitness trainer reveals secrets

Karajan’s fitness trainer reveals secrets


norman lebrecht

April 18, 2021

The sports scientist Günter Traub was a German record holder in speed-skaing and national coach of the US team.

He was introduced to Karajan by Niki Lauda after the conductor suffered a hushed-up stroke in 1979. He subsequently lost use of the fingers in one hand. In an interview this weekend, Traub describes his student as ‘highly motivated’.

‘After my first invoice, Herr von Karajan asked me how the calculation was made up. (I explained) that I based my calculation on the hourly rates for physio and cross-country skiing that are customary in Switzerland, as well as my corresponding travel costs,’ says Traub. ‘You can learn to save (money) from (working with) many rich people.’


More here.

photo: Traub/Mainpost



  • Petros Linardos says:

    Fascinating to read about some of Karajan’s human sides. All those criticisms, many of them justified, can mislead us into seeing him in black and white.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      The more I read about Karajan, the more it seems to me that as a human being he was more misunderstood than not.

      But the artistic results are what matter at the end of the day, and for me, Karajan is my favorite conductor of all time, and not by an insignificant margin. There is no greater Bruckner conductor, period. Karajan’s Bruckner cycle is collectively unsurpassable, even if there are some individual performances of the symphonies by Karajan and others that I like better (for example, I prefer Karajan’s EMI/Warner B7 rather than the DG one). But it’s an amazing achievement, and if it’s all that Karajan achieved in his life (and obviously he has many, many other great achievements), it would have been a remarkable career just for that reason alone.

      • Greg Bottini says:

        I’m in agreement with you fully, Herr D.
        That EMI Bruckner 7th is superb.
        And K’s analog stereo Bruckner 9 on DG (I have the LP) is simply cosmic.
        Karajan is truly one of the conducting greats.

  • Concertgoer says:

    The skiing accident that ruined Karajan’s spine was of course earlier.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    I would never have guessed that chap with the shades and bootlace tie was German.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    The article linked to is behind a paywall: “Continue reading with MP+”.

  • FrankUSA says:

    This posting takes us back to time when conductors were seen as “super-human beings.” Karajan was guilty of trying to create and perpetuate that self-image. Karajan was a human being. I would certainly call him a great conductor. I would not call him a perfect conductor. No such thing exists. It has taken decades to get rid of that concept although there are some conductors who are trying their best to maintain that self-image.