Lorin Maazel leads the Cleveland Orchestra in this opening concert of the 1976-1977 season with music by Richard Strauss and Bela Bartok. It was recorded in September of 1976 and features Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben and Bela Bartok’s Concerto For Orchestra.
During his career, Lorin Maazel served as Artistic Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and General Manager of the Vienna State Opera, as Music Director of the Radio Symphony of Berlin, the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic. In the last year, he maintained an active conducting schedule, leading 111 concerts in 2013 alone, from Oman to Munich.
Fluent in seven languages, Maazel led orchestras and performances around the globe. He viewed music as a bridge-builder. During his career, he worked in East Berlin and the former Soviet Union. In February 2008, he and the New York Philharmonic visited Pyongyang, North Korea, to perform a concert broadcast on North Korean state television, airing live internationally. “I have always believed that the arts, per se, and their exponents, artists, have a broader role to play in the public arena. But it must be totally apolitical, nonpartisan, and free of issue-specific agendas. It is a role of the highest possible order; bringing peoples and their cultures together on common ground, where the roots of peaceful interchange can imperceptibly but irrevocably take hold,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 2008. The North Korean defector singer Ji Hae Nam told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the concert was: “an opportunity for North Korean people to realize that America is not as bad as they’ve learned.”
In addition to conducting and composing, Lorin Maazel was an avid reader and lover of literature, a student of philosophy, astronomy, and math, a film buff, and fierce ping-pong player. He wrote short fiction, watched his fair share of tennis (rare was the U.S. Open he didn’t catch on TV) and listened for pleasure to all kinds of music, especially Tony Bennett. Maazel was also an ardent fan of technology and engaged with tens of thousands of fans through his blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
As a reminder of his tenure in Cleveland, here is that opening to the 59th season. Headphones are an option, but a comfortable chair is a prerequisite. It’s anti-Road Rage Wednesday after all.