Oral Histories

Interview of Sven Reher

Viola player, composer, and member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
We Must Go Farther Yet
Interviews not in a series, part one
Biographical Note:
Viola player, composer, and member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Bertonneau, Thomas
Reher, Sven
Persons Present:
Tapes I to X: Reher and Bertonneau; Tape XI: Reher, Bertonneau, Mrs. Reher, Rebecca Andrade and Stephen Stern were equipmentoperators.
Place Conducted:
Powell Library in Room 134A, UCLA.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Thomas Bertonneau, assistant editor and interviewer, Oral History Program, UCLA; Student of music history in general, contemporarymusic in particular; B.A., Scandinavian languages, UCLA.Bertonneau prepared for the interview by researching the history of (a) German emigration to the United States before World War I; (b) the development of musical institutions, especially orchestras, in the United States since 1900; (c) the development of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; (d) the Weimar period and the rise of National Socialism in Germany; (e) the Special Services Branch of the United States Army in Europe in World War II; (f) the current organization of musical life in Southern California. In addition, the interviewer obtained all available recorded performances of the interviewee. He also had access to the interviewee's family papers.
Processing of Interview:
Editing was done by Bertonneau. He checked the verbatim transcript against the original tape recordings and edited for punctuation, spelling, paragraphing, and verification of proper and place names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed. The final transcript remains in the same order as the original taped material.The manuscript was reviewed and approved by Reher. He made a few minor deletions and additions and supplied names not previously verified.The index was prepared by Bertonneau, who also wrote the introduction. Other front matter was prepared by the staff.
15 hrs.
Interviewee Retained Copyright
Family background; career of father Wilhelm Reher; emigration to United States, 1914; experiences at Ellis Island; German community in Los Angeles; music scene in Los Angeles; early days of Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra; residence in Europe during Weimar Republic; return to United States; Ellis Island again; high school education in Seal Beach, California, and Cincinnati, Ohio; Fritz Reiner and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan; study at Berliner Hochschule für Musik; Carl Flesch as pedagogue; Curt Sachs, Paul Hindemith, and Emanuel Feuerman; tense political atmosphere in Berlin; return to United States; Ojai Festival, 1979; citizenship; study at UCLA during Depression; classes from Arnold Schoenberg; Reher Quartet performance in Royce Hall; employed on staff at Columbia Broadcasting System; live music over radio; recruited into Philharmonic String Quartet by Sylvain Moack; switch from violin to viola; first rehearsal with Otto Klemperer; Stravinsky and Schoenberg; Leopold Stokowski, John Barbirolli, Thomas Beecham, Bruno Walter, Reiner, and other conductors; Afro-American Symphony conducted at Hollywood Bowl; William Grant Still; early days of "Monday Evening Concerts"; performing for motion pictures; Louis Silvers and Lux Radio Theater; World War II military service; awarded degree in music; conducting Merenblum Orchestra; Eric Zeisl; chamber music groups; McCarthyism and music; community orchestra; musicians in movie studio system; character of the viola; viola repertory; performance of original sonata for solo viola.