Great Performances mourns the passing of maestro Claudio Abbado, an Italian conductor who directed some of the finest music institutions in the world – including La Scala, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic. He died on Monday at his home in Bologna, Italy. He was 80 years old.
The son of a professional violinist, Abbado studied both violin and piano at a young age but set his sights on the podium after seeing a performance of Debussy’s “Nocturnes” at La Scala. A student of Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein, Mr. Abbado was well known for his dynamic and lyrical interpretations of Mahler and of his fondness for modern music by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern. He was also a champion of new works by emerging contemporary composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki and Pierre Boulez, among others.
We were very fortunate to have Maestro Abbado on the following Great Performances programs: The Barber of Seville from La Scala (1978), A Concert with the Vienna Philharmonic (1982), La Cenerentola from La Scala (1984), Rossini at Versailles (1985), Abbado in Berlin: The First Year (1992), Carnegie Hall Opening Night 1996, Europakonzert: Ode to Joy (2000), and Berlin Philharmonic: Europakonzert: From Palermo (2003).