Italian conductor Claudio Abbado dies at age 80
Last Updated: 2014-01-21 11:12 | Xinhua
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Italian musical conductor Claudio Abbado died on Monday at the age of 80, local reports said.

The world-renowned maestro died in Bologna after a long illness, his family said in a statement. He had suffered health problems for many years, undergoing a stomach cancer surgery in 2000.

Abbado had conducted many of the world's leading orchestras and had especially taken an active role in promoting young musical talents.

Born in 1933 into a family of musicians, he had first served as music director at the La Scala opera house in his home city of Milan.

During his long career, he was principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Vienna State Opera, chief guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.

He was much appreciated for his special relation with orchestra members as well as for the time he had devoted to training young musicians and founding new orchestras including the European Youth Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Mozart Orchestra.

Abbado received many awards and honors including two Grammy awards and four honorary doctorates, and was voted into the Gramaphone Hall of Fame.

"Today, we lost a creative energy which was part of a vision of the role of music for Italy and for the entire planet," Paolo Terni, a noted musicologist, said in an interview with Rai state television.

Terni described Abbado as an "extraordinary intellectually honest" genius.

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