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German-born Canadian conductor Franz-Paul Decker was born in Cologne on 26 June 1923 and studied there at the Hochschule für Musik with Eugen Papst. He first conducted at Oper Köln, aged twenty-two, then worked at Staatsoper Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden Symmphony Orchestra and then as Generalmusikdirecktor in Bochum.
From Bochum, he moved on to be music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonicm then the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He was also artistic advisor to the Calgary Philharmonic and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and principal guest conductor of Ottawa's National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Known for his interpretations of Wagner, Richard Strauss, Bruckner, Reger and Mahler, he also conducted first performances of many Canadian works (including those by Jacques Hétu, Clermont Pépin and R Murray Schafer), and led performances of eighty-five different operas.
Decker died in Montreal on 19 May 2014, aged ninety.