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Magazine | A nonfiction novella

He put the BSO on the map — then he landed in a world of trouble

One hundred years ago, one of the world’s top conductors was ensnared in a scandal involving patriotism and sex. It almost toppled Boston’s famed orchestra.

In the fall of 1917, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under its German conductor, Dr. Karl Muck, was on top of the classical music world. Muck and his wife, Anita (bottom left), were the toast of Boston society. But everything changed on October 30, 1917, when he was assailed for allegedly refusing to play the national anthem.
Images from the BSO; Globe staff photo-illustration
In the fall of 1917, the BSO, under its German conductor, Dr. Karl Muck, was on top of the classical music world. Muck and his wife, Anita (bottom left), were the toast of Boston society. But everything changed on October 30, 1917, when he was assailed for allegedly refusing to play the national anthem.