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Lorin Maazel
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Conductor
    (March 6, 1930-July 13, 2014)
    Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
    Chief conductor of the Radio-Symphonie Orchestra Berlin (1964-75), the Deutsche Opera Berlin (1965-71), the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (1993-2002) and the Munich Philharmonic (2011-13)
    Music director of the Orchestra National de France (1977-91), the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1988-96) and the New York Philharmonic (2002-09)
    General director and principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera (1982-84)
    Made over 350 recordings
    Composed the opera '1984' (2005)
    He was a child prodigy, guest conducting Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra at age 11.
    He was often described as autocratic and demanding in temperament.
    When he was passed over in favor of Claudio Abbado to replace Herbert von Karajan as principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, he immediately held a press conference to cancel his future dates as a guest conductor with the orchestra.
    He repeatedly announced his intent to stop serving as the musical director for orchestras so he could focus on composing, only to decide that the offers from orchestras were too rich to pass up.
    He paid half the costs for the premier of '1984,' leading to charges in the British press that he had bribed Convent Garden into staging a sub-par opera.
    He was described by one critic as 'an easy conductor to admire, but a difficult one to warm to.'
    Unlike many prodigies, he continued attending public schools during his childhood.
    The NBC Symphony Orchestra initially greeted him sucking lollipops to protest being led by a child, but were quickly won over by his talent.
    He was fluent in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, as well as his native English.
    He had a near-photographic memory for compositions and rarely required a score when he was conducting.
    He put a lot of his own money into establishing the Castleton Festival at his Virginia estate to serve as a training ground for young performers (2009).
    He said working with young musicians and singers was 'more than a labor of love -- a labor of joy.'
    He became less forbidding and more generous with age, noting 'There are only two ways of growing older. You can get more and more wrapped up in yourself, bitter and turned inward, or more mellow.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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