Lorin Maazel started out as a musical prodigy: he received his first violin lessons at the age of five. Two years later, he began playing the piano and learned the basics of orchestral conducting under Vladimir Bakaleinikoff in Pittsburgh. At eight, he conducted a student orchestra for the first time and became a national attraction as “Little Maazel” – even Arturo Toscanini invited him to conduct two NBC Symphony Orchestra concerts. On 8 January 1959, at the age of 29, Maazel made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker and immediately became a regular guest of the orchestra.
Lorin Maazel was regarded worldwide as one of the greatest conducting stars of his time. He began his brilliant conducting career in the 1960s, when he also took over the direction of the Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (now the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester) and the post of artistic director of Deutsche Oper Berlin. Born in France in 1930, the son of Russian-American parents went on to become chief conductor and music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, Wiener Staatsoper, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, which he led for seven years from the 2002/03 season onwards. In autumn 2006, the artist, who is also highly regarded as a violinist and composer, was appointed music director of the new opera house in Valencia. He was also artistic director of the Castleton Festival, which he co-founded, and chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, but resigned from this post for health reasons in mid-June 2014, the year in which he also died. A welcome guest at the world’s leading opera houses and concert halls, as well as the most prestigious festival venues, Maazel cultivated long-standing artistic partnerships with the world’s foremost orchestras. He was an honorary member of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Berliner Philharmoniker awarded him the Hans von Bülow Medal in 2000.