American conductor, violinist and composer Lorin Maazel was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, on 6 March 1930, but spent his childhood in the USA. His father, an actor, singer, voice and piano teacher, and his mother, founder of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, were American Jews of Russian origin.
Maazel studied the violin from the age of five, took his first conducting lesson at seven, and made his conducting debut at eight. By the age of eleven he had guest-broadcast as a conductor with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, and the following year he conducted various major American orchestras on tour. He studied at the University of Pittsburgh and briefly with Pierre Monteux.
He toured as conductor of the Gershwin Concert Orchestra, organised with Ira Gershwin, and was the first American to conduct at Bayreuth. His major conducting appointments were with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (1964-75), Deutsche Oper Berlin (1965-71), the Cleveland Orchestra (1972-82), the Orchestre National de France (1977-91), Vienna State Opera (1982-84), the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1988-96), the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (1993-2002) and the New York Philharmonic (2002-9). He made more than three hundred recordings.
Maazel's catalogue of compositions and arrangements includes an opera 1984 (based on George Orwell) and The 'Ring' Without Words, a seventy-five minute orchestra-only arrangement of Wagner's Ring.
With his wife he founded the Castleton Festival in 2009 on their Virginia estate, and it was on this estate that Lorin Maazel died, on 13 July 2014, aged eighty-four.
CD Spotlight. Shining Through - The classical inheritance of Schubert's Symphonies impresses Andrew Schartmann. '... a fascinating perspective ...'
Ensemble. Very Emotional - Concerts in Rome for Peace, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Unmistakably American - William Bolcom's 'A View from the Bridge', heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Utmost Clarity - William Appling plays Joplin and Bach, heard by Howard Smith. '... consistently four square, honest, unpretentious ...'
Ensemble. Magnificent Wagner - Lorin Maazel's orchestral transcription of 'The Ring', enjoyed by Kelly Ferjutz
CD Spotlight. Opportunity to shine - Concertos for Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's centennial, appreciated by Ron Bierman. '... filled with romantic gestures and crowd-pleasing virtuosity.'