Italian conductor Claudio Abbado dies at 80

By Kyle Johnson,

Renowned Italian conductor Claudio Abbado passed away at the age of 80 on Monday in Bologna, Italy where he lived.

Bologna's mayor's spokeswoman Raffaella Grimaudo confirmed Abbado's passing to the AP, reports The Washington Post. His health hadn't been the greatest over the past 20 years, but his cause of death was not reported.

Abbado made a name for himself after the end of World War II and he led several different orchestras during his lifetime. For 15 years during the 1970s and '80s, he was the musical director for La Scala in Milan.

The conductor was known to be willing to rankle more traditional orchestra fans as he liked to include avant-garde composers' work, such as Alban Berg and Luigi Nono. "Musical history does not end with Puccini," Abbado once said.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Abbado was also a conductor for the London Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic and the music director for the Vienna State Opera.

Abbado began suffering from poor health and left the Vienna State Opera after only five years. In 2000, he had to be treated for stomach cancer.

Opera News editor-in-chief Paul Driscoll said that Abbado "made [the Berlin Philharmonic] survive in a way that wasn't connected with one person."

In a statement confirming Abbado's passing, La Scala wrote that the conductor was a "man of the theater ready to take risks, a man of thought open to the world."

image: Wikimedia Commons



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