Claudio Abbado.


Claudio Abbado: dead at age 80

One of the world’s great conductors died yesterday; in my view, his greatest assets were his ability to achieve outstanding results in music performance and to build amazing orchestral teams.

Mr. Abbado was born into a musical family in Milan, Italy. His mother gave him his first piano lessons when he was eight years old; his father was a violinist and teacher at the city’s Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory.

Later he studied with, Hans Swarowsky at the Vienna Music Academy, and Abbado was later to value his studies with Swarowsky for laying firm conducting foundations, and freeing him to concentrate on interpretation.

Claudio Abbado was a prolific builder of orchestras. He formed the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in 1986, and in 1997 he and former members of that ensemble founded the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. In 1992, he co-founded Berlin Encounters, a project that brought together young musicians and experienced players. He founded the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in 2003, with players from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra as its core.

In 1965 Abbado met Herbert von Karajan, who invited him to conduct the Mahler Symphony No. 2 at the Salzburg Festival that summer and arranged for his Berlin Philharmonic debut in 1966.

I cannot possibly improve on what Tom Service wrote in the Guardian yesterday:

“Abbado’s concerts weren’t mere performances of pieces of music, they were searing, transformative existential journeys. That they have come to an end is an unimaginable loss.”

Here is a video of Claudio Abbado conducting Gustav Mahler’s fifth symphony:


Finally, click HERE to view Abbado’s life in images:


Tags: Claudio Abbado, conductor, Dead at age 80