Author: Lucio Cadeddu - TNT Italy
Published: February, 2014
On January 27, Claudio Abbado [1933-2014], one of the living legends of classical music, passed away at the age of 81. He was music director of the La Scala opera house in Milan, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Vienna State Opera, and principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra.
Besides being one of the most famous orchestra conductors of our era, he also created several orchestras of his own, including the European Union Youth Orchestra, the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and the Orchestra Mozart. He was dedicated to work with young musicians and help them in their musical careers.
Moreover, though he was better known for his work with Romantic music and symphonies (e.g. Gustav Mahler), he was also fond of modern contemporary music by Schoenberg, Stockhausen and Nono. In the video below he conducts the Berlin Philarmonic orchestra in Stockhausen's "Groups":
Just seven days later, on the other side of the pond, folk singer and activist Pete Seeger [1919-2014] passed away. Seeger was the founder and a member of The Weavers, a band that was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era because of his political ideas. In the '60s, he became popular as a singer of protest music, supporting civil rights, international disarmament and environmental causes.
He was also a prolific songwriter, and many of his songs have been sung throughout the world, such as "Where Have All the Flowers Gone", "If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)" (translated in almost every language in the World) and "Turn! Turn! Turn!".
Over the years, Seeger influenced famous musicians ranging from Joan Baez to Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. According to USA Today, this is what President Obama said on Seeger's death:
"Over the years, Pete used his voice -- and his hammer -- to strike blows for worker's rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation. And he always invited us to sing along. For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger.Recently he sang Bob Dylan's "Forever young", together with a boys and girls choir, to celebrate Amnesty International 50 years.
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