Lorin Maazel, a conductor who held directorships of New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera has died at his home in Castleton, Virginia, aged 84.
Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine in France in 1930 to Jewish American parents, acclaimed conductor Lorin Maazel was a child prodigy who made his conducting debut at the age of nine and his violin debut seven years later. Having held a number of prestigious directorships in the U.S. and Europe, Maazel is also an accomplished composer and sometime violinist.
- Maazel was born into a musical family. His father, Lincoln Maazel, was a singer and actor while his mother, Marion Shulman Maazel, founded the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. His grandfather, Isaac, was violinist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
- In 1960 Maazel became the first American to conduct at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus in Germany. The venue is famous for being solely dedicated to the performances of operas by Richard Wagner.
- He became the Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1965 to 1971 and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra from 1965 to 1975.
- Maazel succeeded George Szell as music director with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1972. It was during his tenure here that the first stereo recording of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess using an all-black cast was made.
- The 1980s proved to be a particularly busy period for Maazel. At the turn of the decade he took over as conductor at the Vienna New Year’s Concert and from 1982 to 1984, he served as the Vienna State Opera’s general manager and chief conductor. He was also music consultant to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 1984 to 1988 before becoming its music director in 1988, a post he held for the next eight years.
- He succeeded Kurt Masur as music director at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 2002. He was the conductor when the New York Philharmonic Orchestra made its historic visit to North Korea in 2008.
Did You Know?
Lorin Maazel and his wife, Dietlinde Turban, curate an annual summer event, Castleton Festival, at their Virginia estate.
Lorin Maazel - New York Philharmonic
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