Legendary Man of Music: Lorin Varencove Maazel, 1930-2014
Maestro Lorin Maazel passed away last Sunday at the age of 84. This legendary man of music devoted over 75 years to his craft. To him, music was a bridge-builder - a way to bring peace to the world and its people.
He's noted as saying, "I have always believed that the arts, per se, and their exponents, artists, have a broader role to play in the public arena. But it must be totally apolitical, nonpartisan, and free of issue-specific agendas. It is a role of the highest possible order; bringing peoples and their cultures together on common ground, where the roots of peaceful interchange can imperceptibly but irrevocably take hold."
A second-generation American, born in Paris on March 6, 1930, Lorin Maazel began violin lessons at age five and conducting lessons at age seven. He studied with Vladimir Bakaleinikoff, and appeared publicly for the first time at age eight. Between ages nine and fifteen, he conducted most of the major American orchestras, including the NBC Symphony at the invitation of Arturo Toscanini. In the course of his decades-long career, Maestro Maazel conducted more than 150 orchestras in no fewer than 5,000 opera and concert performances. He has made more than 300 recordings, including symphonic cycles of complete orchestral works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Richard Strauss, winning ten Grands Prix du Disques.
Maestro Maazel is perhaps best known here in the United States as the music director and conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and of course, the New York Philharmonic. He was also a highly regarded composer, with a wide-ranging catalog of works written primarily over the last 15 years. His first opera, 1984, based on George Orwell’s literary masterpiece, had its world premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and a sold-out revival at La Scala, Milan.
In September 2008, Jill Pasternak had the chance to speak with Lorin Maazel about his life and times. And as a tribute to this multi-faceted bridge-builder, we'll rebroadcast that conversation this week.
Crossover, with Jill Pasternak, airs Saturday morning at 11:30 am on WRTI-FM, with an encore Friday evening at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2. Both airings are available on the All-Classical stream at wrti.org.