Though his reputation may have been controversial, Maazel's contribution to classical music is undeniable.
Lorin Maazel, the indisputably great classical conductor, has passed away. For the past 75 years, Maazel has cultivated a reputation as a cold and uncompromising, but stunningly technical professional. He performed with some of the world’s top orchestras, including the Vienna State Opera, the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, among others.
In the seven decades since his first performance, he has gone on to conduct an average of two concerts a week for more than 70 years, leading performances by more than 200 orchestras around the world. The legendary conductor died on Sunday at the age of 84, at his home in Castleton, Va. He was 84. He and his wife had been running Castleton Festival, a summer music program in the area, since 2009 alongside his wifeDietlinde Turban Maazel. In 2013, the festival attracted a crowd of over 13,000 musicians. It was Castleton Festival officials, who announced Maazel’s death early on Monday.
Maazel was "absolutely brilliant and deeply complicated," Deborah Borda, president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, said for the LA Times.
"He was partly isolated by his own profound genius and his sense of musical rectitude," said Borda, who was managing director of the New York Philharmonic from 1990 to 1999. "He didn't shy away from difficult decisions or pursuing his own aesthetic."
Though outside observers sometimes found him cold and difficult, Maazel was kind to the musicians he worked with.
"What folks … define me as is their problem, not mine," he said in a 2012 PBS interview. "If you use that word 'imperious' to my kids, they'd laugh you off the property. It's just not who I am."
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