News / Arts & Entertainment

    Classical Music World Mourns Conductor Lorin Maazel

    FILE - Maestro Lorin Maazel conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the main rehearsal for the annual New Years Concert, Dec. 30, 1998.
    FILE - Maestro Lorin Maazel conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the main rehearsal for the annual New Years Concert, Dec. 30, 1998.
    Reuters

    Tributes poured in from the classical music world on Monday for Lorin Maazel, considered one of the most brilliant conductors of his generation, who died Sunday in rural Rappahannock County, Virginia at the age of 84.

    A child prodigy who later directed the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic among others, Maazel died at his home from complications of pneumonia.

    The Berlin Philharmonic, which he conducted regularly and had been due to conduct again in June, wrote on its website: "We are very sad that this reunion is no longer possible. We will remember Lorin Maazel as a great conductor, and we have grateful, lively memories of him as a master of energetic music-making with a timbral sensuality."

    Maazel was born in Paris in 1930 to American parents of Russian origin, learned to play the piano and violin, and conducted orchestras including the NBC Symphony Orchestra and the Idaho Orchestra before he was a teenager.

    His sharp ear for mistakes earned him the respect of older musicians and he combined an acclaimed baton technique with a memory that meant he rarely used scores.

    Remembering Lorin Maazel
    Remembering Lorin Maazeli
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    Associated with most of the world's great orchestras, Maazel's hundreds of recordings included the cycles of the Beethoven, Mahler and Sibelius symphonies. He was the first American to become general manager and artistic director of the Vienna State Opera, in 1982, but fell out with the then culture minister and left after two years.

    Current opera director Dominique Meyer said in a statement late on Sunday: "Lorin Maazil's death is for us a great artistic and human loss. We are however thankful for the many impressions which he left behind, and which will stay with us."

    Among the many orchestras Maazel conducted was the Pittsburgh Symphony, where he was music director from 1988 to 1996.

    “The most astonishing thing about Mr. Maazel was his prodigious memory," said Kirk Muspratt, who was a resident conductor at the symphony, working under Maazel. "I remember even when I was a student in Vienna, I went to see ‘Carmen’ one night, and there was an announcement that the conductor who was supposed to conduct ‘Carmen’ had taken very, very ill, and they took him to the hospital. Mr. Maazel was the music director of the opera at the time in Vienna. They called him, and he said, ‘Oh, no problem, I’ll just put my shoes on and come over and conduct.’ Fifteen minutes later he was there in a grey leisure suit conducting ‘Carmen,’ from memory.”

    In 2008, Maazel took the New York Philharmonic to perform in North Korea in a concert aimed at opening a door to one of the world's most isolated countries.

    The concert proved controversial. Though the U.S. State Department encouraged the Philharmonic’s trip to Pyongyang, many pundits criticized the concert as giving credibility to North Korea’s repressive regime.

    Maazel responded to his critics, writing in the Wall Street Journal that “Artists have a broader role to play in the public arena. But it must be totally apolitical, nonpartisan and free of issue-specific agendas.” The goal, he wrote, was to bring “peoples and their cultures together on common ground.”

    An audience of North Korea's communist elite gave the orchestra a standing ovation after a rousing set that included Dvorak, Gershwin and a Korean folk song. Some of the musicians were so overcome they left the stage in tears.

    "Little did we know that we would be thrown into orbit by this stunning, stunning reaction," Maazel said after the performance.

    The U.S. and North Korean flags hang at the side of the stage and the audience stands while Music Director Lorin Maazel conducts the New York Philharmonic playing the U.S. national anthem before the start of their concert at the Grand Theatre in the Pyongyang, North Korea, Feb. 26, 2008.
    The U.S. and North Korean flags hang at the side of the stage and the audience stands while Music Director Lorin Maazel conducts the New York Philharmonic playing the U.S. national anthem before the start of their concert at the Grand Theatre in the Pyongyang, North Korea, Feb. 26, 2008.

    In 2009, Maazel founded the Castleton Festival, an annual summer event on his Virginia farm, where he held performances and training seminars.  The festival gave promising young musicians the opportunity to perform in high-level productions, and learn from famous artists. Maazel was the lead tutor, teaching conducting, coaching singers and instrumentalists, and leading performances with his baton.

    He had been rehearsing and preparing for the festival when he died on Sunday.

    Maazel is survived by his wife Dietlinde Turban-Maazel and their two sons and a daughter, three daughters and a son from previous marriages, and four grandchildren.

    VOA's Eric Felten contributed to this report.  

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    New in Music Alley

    Soul Lounge: Sweet Honey in the Rocki
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    February 10, 2016 1:48 PM
    For over 40 years Sweet Honey In The Rock has entertained audiences around the globe with their signature blend of Blues, African, Gospel and R&B. The Grammy award winning group stopped by The Soul Lounge to perform and share their story as well as how they plan to keep African American musical traditions alive.

    For over 40 years Sweet Honey In The Rock has entertained audiences around the globe with their signature blend of Blues, African, Gospel and R&B.   The Grammy award winning group stopped by The Soul Lounge to perform and share their story as well as how they plan to keep African American musical traditions alive.