The extraordinary Lorin Maazel

David Mellor, Sunday 16 November 7pm. David pays tribute to the late, great conductor.

This week, David Mellor takes a look at the life and career of the conductor Lorin Maazel, who passed away in July this year at the age of 84.

Maazel was born in France to Jewish American parents. His father worked as a singing teacher, his mother founded the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, and his grandfather, Isaac, was a violinist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Gallery: Lorin Maazel - a life in pictures >

A child prodigy, the young Lorin made his podium debut at the age of eight and shortly afterwards toured America, conducting many of the country's major orchestras. 

In 1960 he became the first American to conduct at Bayreuth in Germany, the venue being famous for performances of operas by Wagner. He became the Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1965 to 1971 and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1965 to 1975. Maazel succeeded George Szell as music director with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1972, and it was during his tenure that the first stereo recording of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess was made using an all-black cast.

In 2002, Maazel became music director at the New York Philharmonic, and the Munich Philharmonic from 2011. He was famed as a consummate professional who, it was said, had a photographic memory of music scores.  

Tonight David Mellor plays selections particularly from Maazel’s time with the Cleveland Orchestra, and gives us the chance to revel in some wonderful recordings from this master of conducting.