conductor, violinist, composer
March 30, 1930 - July 13, 2014
Lorin Maazel is an American conductor, violinist and composer, considered to be one of the greatest conductors of our time, with a career in music spanning more than half a century and hundreds of recordings to his name.
Lorin Maazel – From Child Prodigy to a Titan of Music
Lorin Varencove Maazel was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, to the family of Russian Jews Lincoln Maazel and Marie Shulman Maazel, who soon moved to America, settling in Oakland, Pittsburgh.
His father was a singer, piano teacher, and an actor who co-starred in George Romero's horror movie Martin (1977). His mother also was a musician who founded the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. And his grandfather Isaac was a violinist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York, for many years...
So it was only natural that Lorin took interest in music from his earliest years and made unbelievable progress. At 7 (!) the boy took his first lesson in conducting with distinguished conductor Vladimir Bakaleinikov, and the following year debuted on stage! At just 11, Lorin was invited to conduct the NBC Symphony Orchestra for a radio show, broadcast nationally. The following year he toured the United States, conducting several well known orchestras!
In the early 50s, Maazel, still a very young man by the standards of the industry, was given the position of the conductor of the Gershwin Concert Orchestra, consisting of 25 permanent members, including some famous soloists, such as Jesus Maria Sanromá, Carolyn Long and Theodor Uppman.
A successful and long - spanning more than half a century- career abroad followed...
Maazel became the first American to conduct at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, then conducted the Deutsche Oper and the Radio-Symphonie-Orchester in Berlin, as well as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and lately the Munchner Philharmoniker (all in Germany).
He also worked for many years with the Orchestre National de France (France), the Vienna State Opera (Austria), and conducted at the Arturo Toscanini Philharmonic (Italy), the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana (Spain).
Maazel is even depicted conducting Vienna State Opera during a New Year concert on an Austrian postage stamp issued in 2005.
He never forgot about his homeland, though, working with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. He conducted the latter during their highly publicized visit to Pyongyang (North Korea) on February 26, 2008.
He also continued composing and recording, creating several pieces, including his best known opera 1984, based on the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, as well as recording more that 350 compositions.
Early in 2014 Lorin Maazel, now considered one of the greatest conductors of our time, announced resignation from the posts he was holding and an end to active performances due to an unnamed illness.
Lorin Maazel died at July 13, 2014 at his home in Castleton,Va. He was 84. The cause was complications of pneumonia.
Apone, Carl (September 12, 1986). "The Maazel Era Begins". The Pittsburgh Press
"East Liberty's Wall of Fame". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 7, 2001.
"High School Boy to Lead Pittsburgh Symphony". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 15, 1942.
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