Halifax Herald Limited
health led to Tintner's suicide
Conductor needed career, wife says
But in the last few weeks, her husband was
By Kelly Shiers / Staff Reporter
World-renowned symphony conductor
Georg Tintner often said music kept him
Until this weekend, few may have realized
how much he truly meant those words.
On Saturday, less than a week after his last
performance, the 82-year-old took his
own life by jumping from the balcony of his
11th-floor Halifax apartment. He died in
"He'd had cancer for some time and been
in a lot of pain," his wife, Tanya Tintner
said Sunday. "While he could still make
music, he kept going."
having trouble and couldn't bear the thought of having to cancel two upcoming
"He realized he couldn't give anymore, so he took what was, to him, the
honourable way out."
From 1987 to 1994, Mr. Tintner led Symphony Nova Scotia during a time of
change and growth.
In the years that followed, he would return to the stage with his fellow
as the orchestra's conductor laureate. In the coming months, he was scheduled
make a half-dozen appearances with the symphony.
"I think if you think of the orchestra, you think of Tintner," said Bob
Symphony Nova Scotia's board president.
Music lovers knew they were about to hear something special when Mr. Tintner
came to the podium.
And musicians were inspired with every movement of his hands through the
"This is a great loss to all of us in the musical community," said Shimon
member of Symphony Nova Scotia and a close friend of Mr. Tintner's.
"Definitely, he was very passionate about his music. . . . He was very
as a conductor and as a person. I was always looking up to him."
Mr. Tintner's passion for music was legendary.
"He could hold you as a player and as a listener," said symphony member
Margaret Isaacs. "The people in the audience can see our faces as players,
we got to see his face. . . . He would just radiate his joy of music."
Max Kasper joined the symphony the same year Mr. Tintner became its music
director, but first met him when Mr. Tintner came from Australia as a guest
conductor for the National Youth Orchestra.
Mr. Kasper said Mr. Tintner loved Mozart. Perhaps surprisingly, he also
Strauss waltzes, which are often viewed as "a bit of a drag" or "old hat"
"But he saw these were really fabulous gems," Mr. Kasper said. Because
obvious love, "you just wanted to play your best."
Born in Vienna, Mr. Tintner was just a teenager when he began conducting
own musical compositions for the Vienna Boys Choir.
As a young Jewish man, he made a desperate escape from the persecution
Nazis who had taken control of Vienna in 1938.
Eventually, he made his way to New Zealand, and then on to Australia, where
spent most of his conducting career.
While he still kept a home in Australia, he was a fixture here in Nova
"He seemed to be a man of great and broad depths," Mr. Geraghty said. "You'd
see him on the concert stage, dressed in evening wear conducting an orchestra
. and the next day bicycling downtown with rubber boots. . . . Fans loved
Mr. Tintner was a member of the Order of Canada and received the
Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation,
which cited him for "his significant contribution to compatriots, community
He also received the Officer's Cross of the Austrian Order of Merit and
Cross of Honour from the City and Province of Vienna.
Earlier this year, the Nova Scotia Arts Council presented Mr. Tintner with
Portia White Prize in recognition of cultural and artistic excellence.
Just a few months ago, Mr. Tintner spoke at a symphony fund-raiser in Chester.
Although it was apparent Mr. Tintner wasn't feeling well, his only concern
symphony and music, Mr. Geraghty said.
"He spoke about the beauty of music and what we had inherited from all
great composers and our responsibility to make sure we retained it in some
Mr. Tintner is survived by his wife Tanya and seven children by two previous