Obituary: Conductor Claudio Abbado, 80

Posted on: January 21, 2014

“Claudio Abbado, a conductor whose refined interpretations of a large symphonic and operatic repertory won him the directorships of several of the world’s most revered musical institutions—including La Scala, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic—died on Monday at his home in Bologna, Italy” following a long illness, writes Allan Kozinn in Monday’s (1/20) New York Times. “Mr. Abbado was born in Milan on June 26, 1933, to a family that traced its roots in the city to the 13th century. His father, Michelangelo, was a violinist and teacher at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan; his older brother, Marcello, became the director of the school.” Conductor Roberto Abbado is his nephew. “Although he said that he admired American orchestral playing, he conducted only a handful of American orchestras, principally the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.… In 1978 he founded the European Community Youth Orchestra for musicians [age] 14 to 20…. He formed the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in 1986, and in 1997 he and former members of that ensemble founded the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, a touring ensemble…. In Mr. Abbado’s memory, La Scala said the orchestra, with Mr. Barenboim conducting, would perform the Funeral March movement from Beethoven’s Third Symphony in the hall while it is empty, leaving the doors open, next Monday at 6 p.m. and broadcast it in the Piazza della Scala.”

Posted January 21, 2014

Pictured: Claudio Abbado at a 2000 recording session. Photo by Cordula Groth