For over five decades, Lorin Maazel has been one of the world’s most esteemed and sought-after conductors. Between 2005 and 2011 he was inaugural Music Director of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia. He was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 2002 to 2009 (during which time he conducted the orchestra on their landmark visit to North Korea), and was holding the same post with the Münchner Philharmoniker when he died in July 2014. He was also founder and Artistic Director of the acclaimed Castleton Festival in Virginia, a ground-breaking festival and training programme for young artists, which is expanding its activities nationally and internationally year on year.
Lorin Maazel has been Music Director of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (1993–2002), and of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1988–96); General Manager, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Vienna State Opera (1982–84) – the first American to hold that position; Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra (1972– 82); and Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1965–71). His close association with the Wiener Philharmoniker includes 11 internationally televised New Year’s Concerts from Vienna. In 2011, he completed a significant Mahler cycle in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra (celebrating Mahler’s centenary year), in addition to touring extensively with the orchestra in Europe.
2013/14 season highlights include a major European tour with the Wiener Philharmoniker. Other guest engagements include appearances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and four concerts with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. In spring 2014, Maazel conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston and on a major tour to China and Japan.
A second-generation American born in Paris, Lorin Maazel began violin lessons at the age of five, and conducting lessons at seven. He studied with Vladimir Bakaleinikoff and appeared publicly for the first time aged eight. At 17, he entered the University of Pittsburgh to study languages, mathematics and philosophy and in 1951 travelled to Italy on a Fulbright Fellowship to further his studies. Two years later he made his European conducting début, stepping in for an ailing conductor at the Massimo Bellini Theatre in Catania, Italy. He quickly established himself as a major artist, appearing at Bayreuth in 1960 (the first American to do so), with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1961, and at the Salzburg Festival in 1963.
Lorin Maazel was also a highly regarded composer. His wide-ranging catalogue of works include his first opera, 1984, based on George Orwell’s novel, which received its world première at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in May 2005.
He had an equally strong commitment to environmental and humanitarian causes and has raised millions of dollars for such organisations as UNESCO, World Wide Fund for Nature, Red Cross and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR).
In over 70 years on the podium, Lorin Maazel has conducted nearly 200 orchestras in no fewer than 7,000 opera and concert performances. He has made over 300 recordings, including symphonic cycles/complete orchestral works of Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Richard Strauss, winning ten Grands Prix du Disques.
The Ring Without Words
By Anna Schmidt
Wagner, Dvořák, Gershwin, Bizet, Bernstein