Former Musical Director of La Scala Opera House in Milan for nearly twenty years, Italian Conductor Claudio Abbado, passed away at his residence in Bologna after a long illness at the age of eighty. La Scala announced the conductor’s death on January 20, 2103.
Claudio, who was appointed senator for life in Italy last year, had cancelled several recent performances and appearances due to ill health.
“The death of Claudio Abbado leaves a huge hole in the world of classical music. He was one of the most important conductors of his generation.” said Radio 3 controller Roger Wright.
Mark Wilkinson, President of Record label Deutsche Grammophon, said: “The world has lost one of the most inspiring musicians of our era, a man who put himself entirely at the service of the music he conducted and, in doing so, made listeners feel that they were hearing it properly for the very first time.”
Claudio made his first recording for Deutsche Grammophon in 1967, and his last in 2013.
Claudio Abbado was born into a musical family in Milan in 1933 and trained at the Milan Conservatoire before studying under Hans Swarowsky in Vienna.
His career began at La Scala in 1960 and he went on to become musical director of the famous opera house until 1986, before his work with Vienna’s state opera and the Berlin Philharmonic.
In the year 1997, Claudio won a Grammy Award in the best instrumental soloist performance (with orchestra) category and in 2012, he was voted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame and awarded the conductor prize at the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Awards.
He also conducted the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) between 1979 and 1988. He was also the musical director of Vienna’s Staatsoper from 1986 to 1991 and a guest conductor at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
In a career that spanned more than four decades, Abbado won admiration from musicians and audiences all over the world for his masterful interpretations and diverse repertoire.