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July 2014
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Conductor Lorin Maazel Dead at 84


Lorin Maazel (1930-2014)

Program note: Listen to WFMT on Monday, July 14 for Lorin Maazel recordings and remembrances by those who worked with him.

Orchestral musicians, opera singers, and fans around the world are mourning the loss of American conductor Lorin Maazel. He died of complications from pneumonia on Sunday, July 13, 2014, in Castleton, Virginia, where the festival he founded is in full swing.

Finding Joy in the Living of Life…
and extending the hand of friendship to all Mankind…

Impossible? Perhaps.
But we must try.
I shall.

—Lorin Maazel

There were those who said Lorin Maazel was tough to work with; others praised his brilliance and generosity. He was honored by the World Economic Forum for using “art to improve the state of the world.” One of his most noted ventures was a tour with the New York Philharmonic to North Korea in 2008.Maazel2

In recent years, Maazel was occupied by the establishment of the Castleton Festival which provides a nurturing environment for young musicians (Maazel sold his Guadagnini violin in order to endow the festival).

He became an active blogger, reporting on everything from the sayings of Buddha to experiences on the podium.

Earlier this year, Lorin Maazel caused a flurry of headlines when he announced he was becoming a vegetarian. He told reporters he was inspired by his son Orson to take a stand against animal cruelty.

Maestro Maazel worked extensively in Europe. He served as Artistic Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and General Manager of the Vienna State Opera. He held posts as music director of the Radio Symphony of Berlin, the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, and the Munich Philharmonic.



In the United States, he served as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic.

According to a statement by the Castleton Festival, “in the last year he maintained an active conducting schedule, leading 111 concerts in 2013 alone, from Oman to Munich.”

Lorin Maazel was born in Paris in 1930 to American parents studying abroad. He is survived by his wife Dietlinde and daughters Anjali, Daria, Fiona, and Tara; and sons Ilann, Orson, and Leslie. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Kiran, Owen, Calypso, and Sahara.

  • Richard Shagam

    My introduction to Lorin Maazel was his recording of the Sibelius Symphonies with the Vienna Phil back when I was in college. Prior to that, my only knowledge of Sibelius was ‘Finlandia’, which I hadn’t really cared for. Thank you, Maestro Maazel for opening up my ears to that great composer. You will be missed.