Back Lorin Maazel

Lorin Maazel is one of world's most distinguished conductors. Appearing regularly at prestigious concert halls and opera houses around the world, he has conducted over 150 orchestras in more than 5,000 opera and concert performances during the last half-century.

Maestro Maazel is also a highly regarded composer, with a wide-ranging catalogue of works written primarily over the last dozen years. His first opera, 1984, based on George Orwell's literary masterpiece, will have its world premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in May 2005.

His trilogy of concertos, Opp. 10, 11 and 12, "Music for Cello and Orchestra" (written for Mstislav Rostropovich) "Music for Flute and Orchestra" (written for James Galway) and "Music for Violin and Orchestra," has been recorded for BMG Classics with Rostropovich, Galway and Maestro Maazel, respectively, as soloists. His symphonic movement ("Farewells," Op. 14), premiered in 2000 as part of the worldwide Maazel at 70 celebration, was commissioned by the Vienna Philharmonic. Maestro Maazel has also conducted the work with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam.

Maestro Maazel has a special interest in contributing to the repertoire of narrated texts with orchestras. In this genre, he has written music for two children's stories: "The Empty Pot," for boy soprano, children's chorus, orchestra and narrator, premiered by Jeremy Irons and the London Symphony Orchestra in 2000, and Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree," which was premiered in a 1998 Easter Monday telecast from Munich for several million viewers. His setting of "Irish Vapours and Capers" was given its first performance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1994 with James Galway as soloist.

He enjoys orchestrating violin and piano works of 19th and 20th century masters, and contributed 17 Italian-song arrangements for violin, tenor and orchestra to a best-selling recording with Andrea Bocelli and the London Symphony Orchestra (for which Maestro Maazel was conductor and violin soloist). His symphonic synthesis of Wagner's Ring cycle ("The Ring without Words") has been performed by many of the world's leading orchestras.

In his more familiar role as conductor, Lorin Maazel is in his third season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. Since his appointment in 2002‹60 years and more than 100 concerts after his debut with the orchestra-Maestro Maazel has conducted five World Premiere-New York Philharmonic commissions, a cycle of the Beethoven Symphonies and Piano Concertos, and several highly acclaimed tours and residencies.

Prior to his tenure in New York, be served as music director of the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio (1993 until summer 2002), and has held positions as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony (1988­96); general manager and chief conductor of the Vienna State Opera (1982­84) - the first American to hold that position; music director of The Cleveland Orchestra (1972-82); and artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1965-71). He was named Honorary Member of the Israel Philharmonic in 1985 when he conducted its 40th Anniversary concert. He is also an Honorary Member of the Vienna Philharmonic, and is the recipient of the Hans von Bülow Silver Medal from the Berlin Philharmonic.

A second-generation American, born in 1930 in Paris, Mr. Maazel was raised and educated in the United States. He took his first violin lesson at age five, and conducting lesson at seven. He studied with Vladimir Bakaleinikoff and appeared publicly for the first time at age eight, conducting a university orchestra. In 1939, at age 9, he made his New York debut at the New York World's Fair, conducting the Interlochen Orchestra. That same year he conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Hollywood Bowl, sharing a program with Leopold Stokowski. He was invited by Toscanini to conduct the NBC Symphony in 1941 at age 11.

Between ages 9 and 15, he conducted most of the major American orchestras. At 17, he entered the University of Pittsburgh to study languages, mathematics, and philosophy. While a student, he was a violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, served as apprentice conductor during the 1949­50 season, and organized the Fine Arts Quartet of Pittsburgh. In 1951, at age 21, he studied Baroque music in Italy on a Fulbright Fellowship, and two years later made his European conducting debut, stepping in for an ailing conductor at the Massimo Bellini Theatre in Catania, Italy. He quickly established himself as a major artist, appearing at Bayreuth in 1960 (the first American to do so), with the Boston Symphony in 1961, and in Salzburg in 1963.

Maestro Maazel has conducted throughout Europe, Australia, North and South America, Japan, the former Soviet Union, at most international festivals and opera houses, including Salzburg, Edinburgh, and Lucerne, the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Paris Opera, and Covent Garden, and has appeared with all the major symphony orchestras. He has conducted numerous televised New Year's concerts from Vienna, mostly recently on January 1, 2005 (his tenth such appearance). He has also conducted the feature-film versions of Don Giovanni, Carmen and Otello. In August 2001, Mr. Maazel celebrated his 100th appearance at the Salzburg Festival, where he directed two Verdi operas, Don Carlo and Falstaff.

As a recording artist, Lorin Maazel has some 300 recordings to his name. These include symphonic cycles of Beethoven and Brahms with The Cleveland Orchestra; Mahler and Tchaikovsky with the Vienna Philharmonic; Sibelius with the Pittsburgh Symphony; and Rachmaninoff with the Berlin Philharmonic. He has also recorded Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, and Richard Strauss Tone Poems (complete) with the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio; Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and Gershwin's Porgy and Bess with The Cleveland Orchestra ­ the first complete recordings of these works; Puccini and Verdi with the Orchestra of La Scala, Milan, and Wagner with the Berlin Philharmonic; as well as Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortilèges, Beethoven's Fidelio, Mendelssohn's Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5, and Mozart Violin Concertos, with himself as soloist, and Stravinsky's Histoire du soldat. He is the recipient of 10 Grand Prix du Disque Awards.