Claudio Abbado

Consummate conductor

Maestros can be about different things. Claudio Abbado was about making music with enormous heart and a commitment to excellence. He worked with tremendous energy and focus. As the conductor of Milan's La Scala, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, he produced work that was sophisticated, elegant and beautifully conceived and did so with singular compassion.

I met Abbado nearly 50 years ago at a Boston Symphony Orchestra rehearsal. The orchestra knew only that he was a young, brilliant guest conductor from Italy. He came on, said a few words and...

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