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Conductor, composer and violinist Lorin Maazel has died aged 84

The American maestro forged an international career for 75 years

Monday, 14 July 2014

Conductor, composer and violinist Lorin Maazel died yesterday from complications following pneumonia at his home in Virginia. The 84-year-old had forged a world-class career for over 75 years, conducting 150 orchestras in 5,000 performances.

Maazel was music director of a number of leading orchestras in the US and Europe throughout his professional life, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and of opera companies, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Vienna State Opera. He also served as music director of the New York Philharmonic from 2001-2009, with whom he made an historic visit to North Korea in 2008 to perform a concert broadcast on North Korean state television. His final music director appointment was to the Munich Philharmonic from the 2012-13 season.

Born in France on 6 March 1930 to American parents, Maazel was brought up in the United States. He began violin lessons at the age of five and conducting lessons at the age of seven. A child prodigy, he made his conducting debut at the age of eight, and at eleven guest conducted the NBC Symphony Orchestra at the invitation of Arturo Toscanini.

As a violinist, Maazel performed with the Fine Arts Quartet of Pittsburgh from 1946 until 1950, and in 1948 joined the violin section of the Pittsburgh Symphony. He also gave violin recitals throughout his career and wrote Music for Violin and Orchestra, op.12 in 1997, in addition to several works for cello and orchestra.

Photo: Molly Peterson

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