The maestro: Lorin Maazel, 1930-2014
Once wrote Blaise Pascal, the child prodigy who became a great French mathematician and philosopher, geniuses “are not seen with the eyes, but with the mind.” Just as Lorin Maazel was not necessarily heard with the ears but with the mind.
The great maestro, Paris-born and Pittsburgh-bred, died Sunday at his Virginia home. He was 84. A child prodigy himself, who a mere two years after his first violin lesson at age 5, was, at age 7, asked to conduct the NBC Symphony by the great Arturo Toscanini, he later studied language, mathematics and philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. How apropos for a genius who understood better than perhaps anyone that to interpret the magic of the great masters one must first be able to discern its precision and inflection.
Mr. Maazel played his violin with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to help pay his way through Pitt, an orchestra he would lead for eight years, ending in 1996. He reinvigorated the PSO, turning it into a world-class symphony orchestra renowned to this day for its public performances and its studio recordings. Maazel went on to direct and conduct the world's greatest orchestras.
A taskmaster described as everything from mercurial to irascible, Maazel “was flawed, he was complicated, just like the rest of us. The only difference was that he was a genius,” reminded close friend and former PSO concertmaster Andres Cardenes.
And it was that genius that enabled Lorin Maazel to discern the soul of the music he so loved and to gift it to his audiences.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.