The renowned conductor Lorin Maazel died on Sunday, 13 July at his home in Virginia in the United States. He
Born in France to American parents, Lorin Maazel was brought up and educated in America. He appeared publicly on the rostrum for the first time when aged only eight. The following year he conducted the Interlochen Orchestra at the New York World’s Fair, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, sharing a programme with Leopold Stokowski who dubbed him ‘the prodigy of the century’.
Maazel entered the University of Pittsburgh in 1947 to study languages, mathematics, and philosophy. While a student, he was a violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and its apprentice conductor during the 1949–1950 season; he also organized the Fine Arts Quartet of Pittsburgh, in which he played the first violin.
Maazel made his European conducting debut at Catania in Italy in 1953, and for the next thirty years worked with many of Europe's leading orchestras and opera houses. He made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival in 1960, being the first American conductor to appear there.
In 1965 Maazel took up his first significant permanent appointments when he became concurrently chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. He remained at the Deutsche Oper until 1971, and with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra until 1975, having also in 1972 taken on another major commitment, that of chief conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra in succession to George Szell. He was chief conductor of the Orchestre National de Radio France from 1977 to 1982, after which he served as its principal guest conductor until 1988, followed by a further three years as its chief conductor once again.
From 1982 to 1984, Maazel was general manager and artistic director of the Vienna State Opera, once again the first American to hold the position. Maazel returned to the USA to become music consultant to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in succession to André Previn, and later served as the orchestra’s chief conductor from 1988 to 1996. In 2000, after returning to conduct the New York Philharmonic Orchestra following a long absence, he was appointed the orchestra’s chief conductor, holding the post from 2002 until 2009. He assumed the position of chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic in 2011, but announced his resignation in June, 2014 citing medical reasons.