The world of music mourns the death of revered conductor Claudio Abbado today, after it was announced on Monday. The conductor passed away at his home in Bologna, Italy, following a prolongued illness. No further details have been announced. At 80, the Italian conductor had made a name for himself as music director of the La Scala opera house in Milan for nearly 20 years. He also conducted such prestigious musical ensembles as the London Symphony Orchestra.
Abbado’s last performance was his Lucerne Festival concert in August last year. Throughout his career, he has played many world-class stages over more than four decades. Although he was a frequent collaborator with US ensembles, Abbado mostly made his name performing across Europe. From 1968 to 1986 he served as the music director of La Scala in his native Milan. His tenure there has been hailed as one of the most fruitful periods in La Scala’s history. Abbado would go on to become the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic. He also directed the Vienna State Opera for five years until illness cut his tenure short in 1991.
It was around this time that Abbado’s health began to deteriorate permanently. In the early 1990s, he suffered a series of health related problems, culminating in an operation for stomach cancer in 2000. La Scala paid tribute to Abbado on Monday, issuing a statement, quoted by the LA Times that said "this is his theater" and describing him as a "man of the theater ready to take risks, a man of thought open to the world."
Abbado conducting Tchaikovski's The Tempest at the Lucerne Festival.