Claudio Abbado had the extraordinary gift to bring musical works – even if they were repeatedly performed –with great intensity to life afresh, with the help of a fluent tone gestalt and rich colour shadings of the various instrumental and human voices in the performance. He not only performed the great polyphonic works of Johann Sebastian Bach or other classical composers in both a profound and playful way, but he also succeeded in interpreting the music of the modern age with great intensity. He became famous for the kind of floating lightness of the symphonic timbres which he produced together with „his orchestra“, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Every year young soloists and experienced world class instrumentalists from different European ensembles were coming together to work under Abbado. Beethoven’s famous dictum at the opening of the Missa Solemnis : “From heart may it flow and to heart may it go!” seems to have inspired Abbado with increasing age.
In a turbulent historical period, at the end of 1989, he was chosen to become successor to Herbert von Karajan, the conductor of the Berlin philharmonic orchestra. He was able to give new accents to his performance of orchestral works or by composing his concert programs under the motives like “Prometheus” or “Faust”.
But with the Lucerne festival Orchestra which was founded in 2003 Abbado succeeded in putting together something very special. With fascinating passion he together with the instrumentalists –well selected individuals, musical professors and lecturers- formed a “chamber music like” performing orchestra whose secret seems to lie in the ” listening to each other” as well as in the “playing to each other”. The different DVD’s which were produced about the festivals document this.
Thus it is also not surprising that in past decades, motivated by the desire to transmit his knowledge and his talent in classical and modern music, to young musicians, Abbado founded some new orchestras. After he had already founded the European Youth Community Orchestra in 1978, he founded in 2004, aside some other initiatives, the Orchestra Mozart in his home town Bologna.
One of the reasons to found the Mozart orchestra was to give an answer to the crisis in the music life of Italy, in particular among classical music ensembles. Thus musicians who had already made a soloist career at a college and in an orchestra began to perform music together with established music professors with great enthusiasm under the direction of Abbado.
A particular quality of the orchestra is its social engagement in Bologna and in the Emilia Romagna region. At the beginning of its concert activity the Orchestra Mozart has promoted since 2006 the “Tamino” project which organizes projects in the field of health, social and welfare. These projects were carried out by musicians and music therapists, and they were taking care in particular of young hospital patients. Also prisoners are included in the project: In the Bologna prison for young delinquents workshops and special concerts were carried out. One of the last one was conducted by Diego Matheuz. The Venezuelan Diego Mathieuz is one of the happiest results of the Venezuelan music project “El Sistema”. At present he is guest conductor in Bologna and principal conductor of the theatre “La Fenice” in Venice.
On the 20th of January 2014 the wonderful conductor and passionate musician Claudio Abbado at the age of 80 years passed away in his hometown Bologna. The music world has suffered an irreplaceable loss, but the way he performed the greatest compositions as an act of communicating may serve as model for many people in the world.
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