Reviving Solti’s World Orchestra for Peace

Posted on: October 15, 2012

In Sunday’s (10/14) New York Times, Harvey Sachs writes, “When the 25-year-old Gyorgy Solti stood on the podium of the Hungarian National Opera in Budapest on March 11, 1938, to lead a single performance of Mozart’s ‘Nozze di Figaro,’ he was the first unconverted Jew to conduct in that house since World War I. But a few hours after the young man’s debut, Hitler’s armies marched unopposed into Austria. … Jump to London in 1992. Gyorgy Solti was now Georg Solti, an 80-year-old eminence in the music world, former music director of the Munich Opera, the Frankfurt Opera, the Royal Opera in London and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and still much sought after as a guest conductor around the globe.” At surprise birthday event in which he was serenaded with Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll by players from 15 orchestras he had recently conducted, “Solti wondered aloud why musicians from many different countries and backgrounds could play together in harmony, whereas international diplomats could not manage to agree on the crucial issue of world peace.” In July 1995, the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, “Solti conducted 79 musicians from 24 countries in a program of music by Rossini, Bartok and Beethoven. … The World Orchestra for Peace was born. … This year’s two concerts, the ensemble’s first appearances in the United States, commemorate the 100th anniversary of Solti’s birth, next Sunday. The first concert, on Friday, is at Carnegie Hall; the second, next Sunday, is at the Symphony Center in Chicago, which was Solti’s main American musical home.”

Posted October 15, 2012