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      Conductor Lorin Maazel Dead at 84

      Orchestral musicians, opera singers, and fans around the world are mourning the loss of American conductor Lorin Maazel. He died of complications from pneumonia on Sunday, July 13, 2014, in Castleton, Virginia, where the festival that he founded is in full swing. more...

      La Marseillaise, The Beatles to the Bastille

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      Canadian Pianist/Radio Host, Monday from Ravinia

      You may have caught Alain Lefèvre on WFMT's Impromptu. He's not only a whiz at the keyboard, but on the broadcast board as well. The French-Canadian pianist and composer is passionate about music: playing music, talking about music, and working as an advocate for music with educators, broadcasters more...

      Are Your Ears Thirsty? Q and A with Seth Boustead

      WFMT and Seth Boustead of Relevant Tones present the 2014 Thirsty Ear Festival, Saturday, July 12 at the City Winery. "The name comes from a friend of mine who was talking about an event he went to years ago and he said of the audience, "they were incredible, they had such thirsty ears." I thought it was a funny and imaginative way to describe people open to new sounds" more...

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      Lorin Maazel: controversial to the end

      Maazel was an uncompromising technician and orchestral leader, a conductor whose sometimes baffling interpretations were inimitably his own, writes Tom Service

      Lorin Maazel never minded courting controversy. He left the Vienna State Opera and what was then the worlds most prestigious job in opera after just two years in 1984 because the reforms he wanted to introduce were questioned by the Viennese Culture Minister. Maazel couldn't compromise, and so he resigned. At the Cleveland Orchestra, which he led for a decade from 1972, he presided over a continually rocky relationship, as he described it, which started because the orchestra were not convinced that he was of the right stature to lead them. His strength and determination saw him through that period, just as it did in his relationships with orchestras in Pittsburgh, in Paris and Berlin. Later, at the New York Philharmonic and in his guest-conducting of orchestras from the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics to the Philharmonia in London, the British orchestra with whom he had the closest partnership, Maazel was an uncompromising technician and orchestral leader, a conductor whose interpretations were inimitably his own.

      That was controversial because Maazels performances especially those in the last two decades of his life - were occasionally inspired but sometimes baffling in their mix of interpretative intervention and emotional coolness, as in the cycle of Mahlers symphonies he performed and recorded with the Philharmonia. But there was never any doubt in any Maazel performance of the technical brilliance he drew from his players and the unimpeachable standards of preparation and execution he routinely delivered. Thats no surprise, given the unique longevity of Maazels career as a conductor, which was consecrated by Arturo Toscanini when Maazel was 11: invited to conduct the NBC Orchestra, the musicians taunted him with lollipops in their mouths, but when the diminutive maestro soon spotted a wrong note, the players realised they had a conductor on their hands. Maazel cemented his career by becoming the first American conductor to lead a production at Wagners theatre in Bayreuth, and made his name with his partnerships in Berlin, Paris, and Munich, with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

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      Lorin Maazel: a life in pictures - gallery

      US conductor Lorin Maazel died today aged 84. Among a lengthy career working with all the world's top orchestras were periods with the Vienna State Opera, the Orchestra National de France and, from 2001-2009, he was Music Director of the New York Phiharmonic.

      News: Condutor Lorin Maazel dies age 84

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      Lorin Maazel obituary

      Distinguished conductor with an all-encompassing love of operatic and concert life

      Few conductors can claim to have carried out their profession since childhood, but Lorin Maazel, who has died aged 84, made his distinguished debut at the age of nine. Since then his various manifestations included violinist, composer, opera director, multilingual narrator and film-maker, and he claimed he could even have become a space scientist, but it is for an especially masterful art of conducting that he will always be remembered. Orchestral musicians may look back with less than the warmest affection, and a more collegial attitude in the world of music has turned its back on the title "maestro" by which Maazel liked to be referred, but he always maintained impressive results over one of the longest careers in the business.

      In 1932, two years after his birth in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, Maazel's parents, Lincoln and Marie, moved the family back to their native America. It was there that the five-year-old began to study the violin with Karl Moldrem and conducting with Vladimir Bakaleinikoff, a friend of the musical family and associate conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Within a few years, the child was deemed ready for the podium and, after taking a rehearsal with Bakaleinikoff's orchestra, made his official debut with the University of Idaho Orchestra, conducting Schubert's Unfinished (Eighth) Symphony. "You had to rub your eyes to believe it," wrote a critic of a New York appearance, "this chubby little figure in a white linen suit pace-making for an orchestra of seventy, and giving every cue on the dot." Arturo Toscanini invited the 11-year-old Maazel to conduct his NBC Symphony Orchestra, and after a rebellious show of defiance, the players quickly respected a good ear for mistakes, and a memory which became legendary.

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