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Lorin Maazel Dead at 84

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Lorin Maazel, who led the Cleveland Orchestra for ten years, has died at the age of 84. ideastream's David C. Barnett has more on the legacy of a sometimes controversial conductor.

Monday, July 14, 2014 at 5:46 am

Lorin Maazel prided himself as leading by example. In a 2009 NPR interview, he said a good conductor was like a good parent.

LORIN MAAZEL: If you respect the people you're working with, you don't shake your fist at them. It's the same in the home. No child --- and I've had seven of them --- has ever felt my hand. An intelligent parent learns very quickly about the importance of the alternative --- rather than saying "don't do that", you say, "why not do this". And so it is with conductors.

Some critics and musicians saw him as arrogant. When it came to leading the Cleveland Orchestra, Maazel had big shoes to fill in taking over for the legendary George Szell, and he didn't get a warm reception from Orchestra members who actually voted against hiring him. But, Tim Page, professor of Music and Journalism at the University of Southern California, gives the conductor high marks.

TIM PAGE: Lorin Maazel was perhaps the most extraordinary technician in the history of the Orcherstra. He was somebody who really could turn anything that he conducted into something really special.

Maazel went on to stints with the New York Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera and several guest positions in Europe and the U.S. In his later years, he organized the Castleton Festival, at his 500-acre farm in Virginia, devoted to grooming a new generation of musicians.

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