The classical music work lost a legendary conductor when Claudio Abbado died on January 20, 2014 at his home in Bologna, Italy, after a long illness. He was 80.
During his career, Abbado served as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1982 to 1985 after making his initial debut in 1971. His final CSO performance took place in March 1991. He was under consideration to replace Sir Georg Solti, but ultimately Daniel Barenboim won the post.
It should be of no surprise that fellow Italian Maestro Riccardo Muti was sad by the news releasing statement:
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a great musician, a man who for many decades has marked history in the world of conducting and musical interpretation for international institutions. His work is an immense testimony to the importance of European and Italian culture around the world. I admire him for the strong courage he showed in the face of a long and terrible illness, and for the seriousness and profundity that characterized his life as a musician and as a Maestro.”
In addition, members of the CSO Association released additional statements:
“We express our profound condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and fans around the world,” said Deborah F. Rutter, President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.
Martha Gilmer, Vice President of Artistic Planning and Audience Development (the Richard and Mary L. Gray Chair), worked with Abbado during his tenure as Principal Guest Conductor. “Claudio Abbado was inquisitive, and brought many new works to Chicago,” Gilmer said. “His commitment to a wide range of music, his constant searching and his curiosity were an inspiration to work with. The last time I saw him, he asked me to tell the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra how much he loved and respected them and the time he had with them.”
The CSO is also adding content that features Claudio Abbado at csosoundsandstories.org.
You can also read a more in-depth history of Abbado on ChicagoTribune.com written by John von Rhein where he summarizes his career:
Throughout a career that began in the 1950s, Abbado was praised for his scrupulous and insightful musicality and his knack for drawing playing of exceptional refinement, depth and force from orchestras. His baton technique was a model of clarity, while musicians appreciated his cool-headed, undemonstrative yet probing manner on the podium.