The Orchestra conductor, Claudio Abbado (Milan, 1933), died this morning in Bologna at the age of 80. The director was throughout his extensive career musical director of the Scala of Milan, the Staatsoper of Vienna and artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic, where he replaced the legendary Herbert von Karajan, rejuvenated the Orchestra and expanded the Repertoire to the 20th century. In 2002 he was replaced by the current master, Simon Rattle.
Because of his health conditions, the Italian master had canceled a week ago the concert that was scheduled to offer Feb. 18 in Bari. Years ago he had managed to overcome a terrible stomach cancer.
Man shy, little given to meetings with the press and pawned that call him “Claudio” and not “teacher. Strong voice against the cuts to the culture, especially in his country, in fact, once said that the Minister of cultural Italian, Sandro Bondi, were a “pure demonstration of ignorance”.
Abbado was born in Milan on June 26, 1933. In 1955, graduated in piano and conducting at the Conservatory of Milan. In 1958 opened in front of the New York Philharmonic in the United States. The following year he also debuted in his country, in particular in Trieste, while in 1960 started his long relationship with la Scala in Milan, which was music director until 1986 and that renewed to the extent that some refer to his phase to the front as “season Abbado” of Milanese theatre.
Between 1989 and 2002 was artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic, one of the most important experiences of his legendary career. Two tests of this: in 2002, received the Bundesverdienstkreutz mit Stern, the highest honor granted Germany. And that same year his last concert in front of the Philharmonic, at the Musikverein di Vienna, ended with 30 minutes of applause and the public throwing 4,000 flowers at the scene.
Last December he decided to forgo his salary and donate it to the school of music in Fiesole, Tuscany, to finance scholarships for students.
Since 2009 he lived in Bologna. There, in 2004, he founded the Mozart orchestra, which was musical and artistic director and that was going to act on 5 December in Vienna. However, his illness forced him to renounce that concert.