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Biography: Lorin Maazel

Chris Lee

Chris Lee

Lorin Maazel, who has led more than 150 orchestras in more than 5,000 opera and concert performances, became music director of the New York Philharmonic in September 2002. His appointment came 60 years after his debut with the orchestra at Lewisohn Stadium, then the orchestra’s summer venue. As music director, he has conducted seven World Premiere-New York Philharmonic Commissions, including the Pulitzer Prize®- and Grammy Award®-winning “On the Transmigration of Souls” by John Adams; Stephen Hartke’s “Symphony No. 3”; and Melinda Wagner’s “Trombone Concerto.” He has led cycles of works by Brahms and Beethoven, and, in fall 2007, a festival devoted to Tchaikovsky. He also led the orchestra’s inaugural performances in the DG Concerts series, a groundbreaking initiative to offer downloadable New York Philharmonic concerts exclusively on iTunes. Mr. Maazel has taken the orchestra on numerous international tours, including the May 2007 Tour of Europe; the November 2006 visit to Japan and Korea; the Philharmonic Tour of Italy in June 2006, sponsored by Generali; and the two-part 75th Anniversary European Tour to 13 cities in five countries in autumn 2005. Previously, he conducted the Philharmonic on tours to Asia, three Southern U.S. states, and the American Midwest, and in residencies in Cagliari, Sardinia, and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival in Colorado.

Mr. Maazel is also music director of two recently created organizations: the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain, and Italy’s Symphonica Toscanini, an orchestra of top young professional players, based in Rome. A frequent conductor on the world’s operatic stages, in January 2008 he returned to The Metropolitan Opera for the first time in 45 years to conduct Wagner’s “Die Walküre.”

Prior to his tenure as New York Philharmonic Music Director, Mr. Maazel led more than 100 performances of the orchestra as a guest conductor. He served as music director of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (1993-2002) and has held positions as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1988-96); general manager and chief conductor of the Vienna Staatsoper (1982-84); music director of The Cleveland Orchestra (1972-82); and artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1965-71). He is an honorary member of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic.

A second-generation American, born in Paris, Mr. Maazel was raised and educated in the United States. He took his first violin lesson at age five and his first conducting lesson at seven. Between ages nine and 15 he conducted most of the major American orchestras. In 1953 he made his European conducting debut in Catania, Italy. Mr. Maazel is also an accomplished composer. His opera, “1984,” received its world premiere on May 3, 2005, at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and will be revived in the 2007-08 season at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia and at Teatro alla Scala in Milan.



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