Solti - from maestro to superstar
Sir Georg Solti, Conductor, Dies
The death has been announced of the conductor, Sir Georg Solti. He was
84, and died suddenly while on holiday in the south of France.
Georg had shown little sign of reducing his activities, and was to have
conducted in London at the end of next week.
His career spanned the era of the early gramophone record
to the compact disc, and from old-fashioned Central European maestro to the
marketing of the modern-day superstar.
Born in Budapest in 1912, Solti began
his career as a pianist before making his conducting debut at the Budapest
opera in 1938.
He spent the second world war in Switzerland.
He had been
studying under the great Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini when war broke
As a conductor untainted by association with fascism, Solti quickly became
one of the most sought after of the post-war generation.
In 1961 he came to
London as music director of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. He became
a British citizen and was knighted in 1972.
In the opera house Solti's bald
head and demanding rehearsal style earned him the nickname, the screaming
He could be merciless in his treatment of musicians. He said he just
wanted the highest standards.
In recent years, spent as the chief conductor of
the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he said that he had mellowed. Whatever his
methods, audiences, critics, and buyers of his recordings, loved the results.
A Solti concert, opera performance or recording was always a special occasion
for musicians and listeners alike.
He had showed no sign of slowing down,
maintaining a busy diary right to the end. He was to have conducted Verdi's
Requiem in London next Friday. As always the concert was sold out weeks in