In the stakes for the greatest conductor of the last 50 years Claudio Abbado would have to be at or near the top. He was Music Director of La Scala Milan, and the Berlin Philharmonic. He founded the European Union Youth Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Orchestra Mozart and Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. His last and most extraordinary creation was the Lucerne Festival Orchestra made up of major international soloists as well as some of Europe's finest orchestral musicians. As one great conductor hearing the orchestra said 'It has no right to work, but because of Claudio it does'. Some years ago he gave me a clear vision of true genius. Conducting a rehearsal of Parsifal in the Festival theatre I caught sight of him leading the orchestra with his left hand, balancing three different choirs with three fingers on his right hand while at the same time dictating notes to his assistant. Extraordinary and much missed.
To see Claudio Abbado conducting the Verdi Requiem click here
To see Claudio Abbado conducting Mahler's 7th Symphony click here