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Remembering Conductor, Violinist and Composer Lorin Maazel (1930-2014)

Laurie Niles

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Published: July 14, 2014 at 2:32 AM [UTC]

By now you have likely heard that Maestro Lorin Maazel, 84, died on Sunday at his home in Virginia, Castleton Farms, where he was in the midst of his annual Castleton Festival. He died from complications following pneumonia.

Lorin MaazelDuring his prolific, seven-decade career, Maazel, 84, conducted some 7,000 concerts and made around 300 recordings. He held a number of music directorships, including those with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic.

Born into a family of musicians, he began piano lessons at the age of 5 and violin lessons at age 7. Shortly after that he began studying conducting with Vladimir Bakaleinikoff. Maazel conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony at age 9, and by invitation from Arturo Toscanini, the NBC Symphony at age 11.

He was tireless in his work to the end; according to his personal blog, during 2013, at age 83, he conducted 200 rehearsals and 111 concerts in 30 cities.

We've assembled some videos and links about Lorin Maazel to help commemorate his life. Please feel welcome to post any memories of Maazel that you would like to share in the comments section.

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In 2012, Lorin Maazel told a group of graduating music students: "Keep that light burning. Keep your faith. Don't take yourselves seriously, but take the art we all serve very seriously and accord it the respect and love it deserves." I stumbled across those recent words by Maazel in this convocation address. Somehow these words seem like they are for all of us who wish to carry forward the tradition of music. From Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music's June 2012 convocation:

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Maazel's conducts the last movement of Mahler's first symphony with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia in 2012:

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And some footage from the 1960s: Lorin Maazel plays and conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Mozart's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra # 3; K.216.

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More links about Lorin Maazel:

Lorin Maazel's personal blog; the last entry is an obituary, but Maestro Maazel's last entry was on June 11.

New York Times obituary

Castleton Festival obituary

Washington Post obituary

Los Angeles Times obituary

NPR obituary

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 5:24 PM
Superb tribute, Laurie. Many times, I have been driving, radio on, attention captured by a performance that was remarkable for its power, precision and individuality -- often it was led by Maazel.
From John Rokos
Posted on July 15, 2014 at 9:43 AM
I noted that when he took over the New Year Concert from Willi Boskovsky he conducted with a baton, rather than from the violin as Boskovsky used to. I guess he didn't want to disturb the fledgling relationship between the orchestra and their new concertmaster.

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