Maestro Maazel died Sunday July 13th at his estate in Castleton Farms, Virginia of complications from pneumonia. He had been preparing to host his annual music festival that promotes the mentoring of young musicians.
Maestro Maazel’s death came a month after he resigned from his position as music director of the Munich Philharmonic.
During his career, maestro Maazel conducted an average of two concerts a week over the course of 70 years with more than 200 orchestras.
Born in Paris on March 6th, 1930, the family moved to Los Angeles where he played violin with a baby orchestra. At age 7, he began studying conducting under Russian maestro Vladimir Bakaleinkoff. Between the ages of 9 and 12, he conducted several major U.S. orchestras, including maestro Arturo Toscanini’s NBC Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro Maazel took on many high-profile jobs over the course of his seven decade spanning career. He was the first American to conduct the Vienna State Opera. He also served as director of the New York Philharmonic for seven years.
The Maestro was awarded Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur twice in France, the Bundesverdienstkreuz in Germany, the Premio Abbiati in Italy, the Commander of the Lion in Finland, the Großes Goldenes Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich as well as the Honorary Membership of the Wiener Philharmoniker and Wiener Staatsoper in Austria, and the Honorary Life Membership of the Israel Philharmonic in Israel.
With his wife, he founded the Castleton Festival in 2009 that has held annual summer performances and training seminars on his Virginia farm. Recognizing the value of mentoring he himself benefited from as a youth, Maestro Maazel established the Castleton Festival with a mission: to nurture young musicians through mentoring and performing, and would draw audiences to performances showcasing young talent bringing fresh energy to classical music alongside established virtuosos such as Denyce Graves and Sir James Galway to Jeremy Irons and Lady Helen Mirren.
I leave my readers with maestro Maazel conducting the Beethoven’s Egmont Overture with the New York Philharmonic.