Former musical director of La Scala, Claudio Abbado, has died at the age of 80.
Italian conductor died in Bologna after a long illness, said Raffaella Grimaudo, spokeswoman for the Bologna mayor’s office.
Claudio Abbado, who was appointed senator for life in Italy last year, had cancelled several recent performances and appearances due to ill health.
He also conducted the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) between 1979 and 1988.
Claudio Abbado won plaudits for his LSO concerts of his favorite composer, Gustav Mahler.
He was also musical director of Vienna’s Staatsoper from 1986 to 1991 and a guest conductor at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
In 1989, Claudio Abbado was elected head of the Berlin Philharmonic by its members, where he worked until 2002.
He made his first recording for Deutsche Grammophon in 1967 and his last in 2013.
Claudio Abbado was born into a musical family in Milan in 1933 and trained at the Milan Conservatoire before studying under Hans Swarowsky in Vienna.
His career began at La Scala in 1960 and he went on to become musical director of the famous opera house until 1986, before his work with Vienna’s state opera and the Berlin Philharmonic.
In 1997, Claudio Abbado won a Grammy Award in the best instrumental soloist performance (with orchestra) category.
In 2012, he was voted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame and awarded the conductor prize at the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Awards.
The latter prize was given for his concerts with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in 2011.
Claudio Abbado had suffered health problems for many years, resigning from his Vienna Opera post for health reasons in 1991 and then undergoing stomach cancer surgery in 2000.
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