Italian conductor Claudio Abbado dies at age 80

By Daniel S Levine,

Renowned Italian conductor Claudio Abbado died Monday. He was 80-years-old.

Abbado died in Bologna at around 9 a.m. local time, the city said, reports Bloomberg. An official said that he was suffering from cancer in recent years. The AFP does note that he had survived stomach cancer in 2002, but fell ill again and had to cancel performances.

Abbado was born in 1933 to a musical family and trained with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna. That planted the seeds of a love for the city and Austria, but the Italian became a true citizen of the world.

He earned his early fame in 1960 with La Scala, earning praise for Giacomo Manzoni's Atomtod in 1965. He continued as La Scala’s musical director until 1986. During his time there, he shuffled the traditional line-ups and appealed to the younger generations and the less wealthy, notes Reuters.

In the U.S., Abbado had stints with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in the 1980s and was musical director for Vienna’s Staatsoper from 1986 to 1991. He also worked with the Berlin Philharmonic from 1989 to 2002.

“The world of music and culture has lost an absolute champion," Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said Monday.

image: YouTube screenshot

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