Werner Janssen

September 21, 1990|By New York Times

Werner Janssen, who was music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra from 1937 to 1939, died Wednesday at Stony Brook (N.Y.) University Hospital. He was 91.

Mr. Janssen was the first American-born conductor to lead the New York Philharmonic and later an active film composer and champion of contemporary music on the West Coast.

Mr. Janssen was born in New York and attended Dartmouth College and the New England Conservatory of Music. He studied conducting in Europe with Felix Weingartner and Hermann Scherchen and composition with Ottorino Respighi.

In 1934, he was invited to lead the New York Philharmonic.

After leaving the BSO, Mr. Janssen shifted his base to Los Angeles. He composed scores for many films, including "Blockade" and "The General Dies at Dawn."

He is survived by his wife, Christina Heintzmann Janssen of Stony Brook; a son, Werner Janssen Jr. of New York; two daughters, Alice Krelle of Lake Tahoe, Nev., and Jennifer Janssen of Stony Brook; two sisters, Dorothy Szlapka and Alice Knipe, both of New York; four grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

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