Renowned Italian Conductor Claudio Abbado Dies, Aged 80
The former musical director of La Scala has died in his homeland following a long battle with illness
Claudio Abbado has died following a long battle with illness, the BBC report. The former conductor for the London Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic and one-time musical director of La Scala, Abbado held some of the most prestigious roles in classical music and his death comes as a huge blow to the classical community.
Abbado died at his home in Bologna following a drawn out battle with illness. A committed and dedicated musician and conductor, Abbado continued to conduct orchestras until his final years, having to pull out of some dates in 2007 due to ill health, only to continue performing a few months later, his final shows coming only months ago.
Particularly well-known for his Romantic work, Abbado dedicated his life to music and used his own talents to help others realise their own. In addition to his orchestral works, he founded and served as music director of the European Union Youth Orchestra in 1978, going on to found the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester in 1986. And also served as a guest conductor for a variety of city orchestras across the globe, as he became one of the most highly regarded and sought after conductors around.
Beginning his obsession with conducting and composing in his childhood, he developed his own gentle and personalised form of conducting under the tutelage of the strict Arturo Toscanini, as well as Wilhelm Furtwängler, whilst studying in Milan as a youth. His personal touches made him well-loved with the musicians lucky enough to work under him and enamoured him to the classical music community.
In 2013, he was honoured by the Italian government for his lifelong dedication to music when he was appointed to the Italian Senate as a Senator for life by President Giorgio Napolitano. In addition to this, he was recognised throughout his career with individual honours from across the globe, earning the Grand Cross of the Légion d'honneur in France, the Bundesverdienstkreuz in Germany, the Imperial Prize of Japan and a number of honorary doctorates from the universities of Ferrara, Cambridge, Aberdeen and Havana. He also received two Grammy Awards in his lifetime; the 1997 Grammy Award in the Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without conductor) category for 'Hindemith: Kammermusik No. 1 With Finale 1921, Op. 24 No. 1' and the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra) for 'Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3' performed by Martha Argerich.
He is survived by his three children - Alessandra, Sebastiano and Misha, each from different mothers - and extended family members. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.