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Leo Blech, Noted Jewish Conductor of Berlin State Opera, Dies; Was 87

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Leo Blech, noted Jewish conductor of the Berlin State Opera whose personal popularity in Germany was so great that never ousted hin openly but forced his retirement in 1937 for reasons of “age,” died here Sunday night at the age of 87. Blech was appointed general music director of the organization In 1913 by Kaiser Wilhelm II when the Institution was known as the Royal Opera.

After his retirement, Blech accepted a two-year contract to conduct the Chicago Grand Opera Company, bit a controversy stemming from his continuing to conduct after the Nazis stripped German music circles of other Jewish personalities eventually led to abandonment of this plan. Later he became conductor of the Riga, Latvia, National Opera and the Royal Opera of Stockholm and the Municipal Opera of West Berlin.

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