Solti, Sir Georg

orig. György Stern Solti

born Oct. 21, 1912, Budapest, Hung.
died Sept. 5, 1997, Antibes, France

Hungarian-born British conductor.

After making his piano debut at age 12, he studied piano with Béla Bartók and composition with Zoltán Kodály. He was Arturo Toscanini's assistant at Salzburg (1936–37). In Switzerland when World War II broke out, he returned to piano, winning the 1942 Geneva International Competition. He led the Bavarian State Opera in Munich (1945–52), and then he moved to Frankfurt (1952–61). As director of Covent Garden (1961–71), he made the first complete recording of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle (1958–65), which remains one of the celebrated recordings of all time. Under Solti (1969–91), the Chicago Symphony Orchestra won extraordinary praise and success.

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▪ 1998

      Hungarian-born British conductor and pianist (b. Oct. 21, 1912, Budapest, Austria-Hungary—d. Sept. 5, 1997, Antibes, France), was the longtime music director (1969-91) of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), which he reestablished as a world-class ensemble. His conducting career began in the 1930s when he became a rehearsal leader for the Budapest State Opera, and in 1937 Arturo Toscanini gave him the same job at the Salzburg (Austria) Festival. In 1938 he made his conducting debut at the Budapest State Opera. Solti, who was Jewish, was just beginning to receive his own engagements when his career was interrupted by World War II; he spent the war in Switzerland, giving piano lessons and coaching singers. After the war the removal of Nazi-affiliated conductors from their posts created opportunities for many non-German maestros. Solti was among those to benefit, serving as the music director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich from 1946 to 1952 and of the Frankfurt Opera from 1952 to 1961. More notable, however, was his tenure as music director of the Royal Opera at Covent Garden, London (1961-71). Solti came to international prominence as the conductor of the first complete recording of Richard Wagner's opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelung. This immense seven-year project, concluded in 1966, was considered by many to have been one of the landmark recordings of the 20th century.

      Solti's ambitions as an orchestral conductor were most fully realized, however, during his tenure with the CSO, which he distinguished with energy and discipline. He also held directorships with the Orchestre de Paris (1972-75) and the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1979-83). As an opera conductor he was acclaimed as a superb Wagnerian and was probably the greatest interpreter of Richard Strauss. Solti was also described as highly excitable, especially by musicians, some of whom referred to him as "the screaming skull. " In orchestral music Solti conducted everything from Mozart to Sir Michael Tippett, but he was most at home with the mammoth late-Romantic symphonies of Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler. Nearly all of Solti's readings were characterized by rhythmic discipline, high energy, and dynamic impact, especially from the brass instruments. He recorded prolifically, both as a conductor and as a solo pianist, and he won more Grammy awards (32) than any other classical or pop music artist. He was knighted in 1971 but did not use the title until he took British citizenship the following year.

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▪ British conductor
original name  György Stern Solti  
born October 21, 1912, Budapest, Hungary
died September 5, 1997, Antibes, France

      Hungarian-born British conductor and pianist, one of the most highly regarded conductors of the second half of the 20th century. He was especially noted for his interpretations of Romantic orchestral and operatic works.

      Solti studied at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest with Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály. At 18 he joined the coaching staff of the Budapest Opera and made his conducting debut there in 1938. A Jew, he found safety in Zürich at the outbreak of World War II, but his alien status prevented him from conducting professionally. He won the Geneva International Piano Competition in 1942. After the war he became music director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich (1946–52), the Frankfurt Opera (1952–60), and the Royal Opera at Covent Garden (1961–71). He assumed British citizenship in 1972 and was knighted that same year.

      From 1969 to 1991 he was music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, reestablishing that orchestra's international reputation. He was chief conductor of the Orchestra of Paris (1972–75) and acted as musical adviser to the Paris Opéra from 1971 to 1973. He served as the principal conductor and artistic director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 1979 to 1983.

      As a conductor Solti was best known for his dynamic and deeply felt interpretations of operas, symphonies, and other large-scale works by W.A. Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Gustav Mahler. He was particularly notable for his sharp attention to musical detail and his ability to evoke a wide range of tonal colours from an orchestra. He made many highly praised recordings from the late 1940s as both conductor and solo performer. In 1958–65 Solti made the highly acclaimed first complete set of recordings of Richard Wagner's opera cycle, The Ring of the Nibelung (Der Ring des Nibelungen), which was released in 1966. During his career Solti won 32 Grammy Awards, more than any other performer in recording history. His Memoirs (also published as Solti on Solti; written with Harvey Sachs) appeared in 1997 shortly after his death.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SOLTI, SIR GEORG — (1912–1997), conductor. Born in Budapest, Solti studied at the Liszt Academy with Dohnanyi, Bartok, and Kodaly and became an accomplished pianist. From 1930 to 1939 he was répétiteur at the Budapest Opera; he worked with Toscanini at Salzburg… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Solti,Sir Georg — Sol·ti (sōlʹtē, shōlʹ ), Sir Georg. 1912 1997. Hungarian born British conductor. He directed the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1969 1979) and in 1979 became principal conductor and artistic director of the London Philharmonic. * * * …   Universalium

  • Solti, Sir Georg — orig. György Stern Solti (21 oct. 1912, Budapest, Hungría–5 sep. 1997, Antibes, Francia). Director de orquesta británico de origen húngaro. Después de hacer su debut como pianista a los 12 años de edad, estudió este instrumento con Béla Bartók y… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sir Georg Solti — Georg Soltis Grab in Budapest Sir Georg Solti, KBE (* 21. Oktober 1912 in Budapest; † 5. September 1997 in Antibes (Südfrankreich), gebürtig György Stern) war ein ungarisch britischer Dirigent jüdischer Abstammung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sir Georg — Solti (conductor pianist knighted for his services at Covent Garden where he conducted from 1961 to 1971) …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • sir — /serr/, n. 1. a respectful or formal term of address used to a man: No, sir. 2. (cap.) the distinctive title of a knight or baronet: Sir Walter Scott. 3. (cap.) a title of respect for some notable personage of ancient times: Sir Pandarus of Troy …   Universalium

  • Georg — (as used in expressions) Georg Bauer Békésy Georg von Bodmer Johann Georg Brandes Georg Morris Cohen Büchner Georg Cantor Georg Caprivi Georg Leo count von Embden Gustav Georg Gadamer Hans Georg Georg August Georg Ludwig Georg Grosz Christian… …   Universalium

  • Georg — (as used in expressions) Georg Bauer Békésy, Georg von Bodmer, Johann Georg Brandes, Georg (Morris Cohen) Büchner, Georg Cantor, Georg Caprivi, (Georg) Leo, conde von Embden, Gustav Georg Gadamer, Hans Georg Georg August Universität zu Göttingen… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Georg Solti — en 1965 Naissance 21 octobre 1912 Budape …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Georg Solti — Sir Georg Solti, KBE (pron en|ˈdʒɔrdʒ ˈʃɒlti [According to the BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names , the name Georg Solti is pronounced in English as George Shollti , the Sholl part rhyming with the word doll .] ; 21 October 1912 ndash; 5 …   Wikipedia

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