TIME Music

Renowned Conductor Lorin Maazel Dies Age 84

Lorin Maazel conducts New York Philharmonic in Brahms's "Symphony No.4" at Avery Fisher Hall on Jan. 30, 2008.
Lorin Maazel conducts New York Philharmonic in Brahms's "Symphony No.4" at Avery Fisher Hall on Jan. 30, 2008. Hiroyuki Ito—Getty Images

Sometimes controversial figure toured North Korea with the New York Philharmonic in 2008

Lorin Maazel, the renowned conductor who held premier positions at some of the world’s top orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, died on Sunday at his home in the U.S.

Maazel, a colossal figure in classical music, had also been the music director of the Vienna State Opera among other famed orchestras and ensembles in his decades-long career, reports the BBC. His tenure at the New York Philharmonic included a highly publicized tour of North Korea in 2008.

The cause of death was complications from pneumonia, according to the Castleton Festival, a summer workshop for young musicians founded by Maazel and his wife in 2009. Maazel had been at home in Virginia rehearsing for the annual festival when he passed. He was 84.

Maazel, born in France in 1930, was a child prodigy who as a teenager guest-conducted prestigious orchestras throughout North America, starting a career that would include conducting more than 150 ensembles in at least 5,000 performances, according to the Castleton Festival.

Known to perform without a score, Maazel was at times a controversial figure, delivering recitals that could be highly studied and rote, but other times intensely personal and dramatic, reports the New York Times.

Maazel was also a composer, including of an opera based on George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. His interpretation premiered at the Royal Opera House in London and went on to have a sold-out revival at La Scala, Milan, according to the Castleton Festival.

[BBC]

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