Berky, John: Felix Maria Gatz - The Forgotten Bruckner Pioneer

Berky, John: Felix Maria Gatz - The Forgotten Bruckner Pioneer
Felix Maria Gatz
The Gatz Essay: When a colleague sent me an extensive list of Bruckner performances conducted in Germany in the 1920s and 30s by Felix Maria Gatz, I wondered why I had never heard of this pioneering Bruckner conductor before. Then I found that he had done a series of radio broadcasts on Bruckner after he emigrated to the USA. A little research into his life has given us a clue as to why he was so quickly forgotten and why he should be remembered today for his work. The Gatz Essay

The Franz Moissl booklet: In addition to my essay, a booklet about Felix Gatz was published in 1934 by Franz Moissl just after Gatz left for the United States. That booklet is available in this website's Article in English section. Click here.

Gatz's Te Deum Recording: As my essay states, there is only one known recording of Felix Maria Gatz conducting Bruckner. The recording features two sections from Bruckner's Te Deum and can be heard here.

A WQED Broadcast: My friend and past colleague, Jim Cunningham of Radio Station WQED-FM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania interviewed me regarding Felix Maria Gatz and his Pittsburgh connection for a segment of a Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra broadcast. A segment of the broadcast is available here.

The Voice of Lura Stover: As I have researched the life of Felix Maria Gatz, it has become clear that one of the reasons that Professor Gatz drifted away from his advocacy for the music of Anton Bruckner was to advance the singing career of his wife, Lura Stover (1914-2009). After Professor Gatz's death in 1942, his widow moved from Scranton, Pennsylvania to New York City to continue her studies at the Juilliard School (She was a winner of the Naumberg Award in 1941 and made her Town Hall debut in January of 1942.). Below are four examples of her singing. The first two are from concert performances. In 1947, she made some recordings for Bibletone Records including selections from Handel's Messiah. The two highlights below were transferred from Bibletone M 1903.

Du Bois: from The Seven Last Words.

Bach: Bleed and Break Aria.

Handel: Glory to God in the Highest.

Handel: I Know My Redeemer Liveth