The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Riccardo Muti mourn the passing of acclaimed conductor Claudio Abbado, who, among his many musical achievements, was the CSO’s principal guest conductor from 1982 to 1985. Maestro Abbado, 80, died Monday at his home in Bologna, Italy, after a long illness.

In a statement, Maestro Muti said, “I am deeply saddened by the loss of a great musician, a man who for many decades has marked history in the world of conducting and musical interpretation for international institutions. His work is an immense testimony to the importance of European and Italian culture around the world. I admire him for the strong courage he showed in the face of a long and terrible illness, and for the seriousness and profundity that characterized his life as a musician and as a Maestro.”

“We express our profound condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and fans around the world,” said Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.

Martha Gilmer, vice president of artistic planning and audience development, worked with Maestro Abbado during his CSO tenure. “Claudio Abbado was inquisitive, and brought many new works to Chicago,” Gilmer said. “His commitment to a wide range of music, his constant searching and his curiosity were an inspiration to work with. The last time I saw him, he asked me to tell the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra how much he loved and respected them and the time he had with them.”

The CSOA will later issue a more complete remembrance, including highlights of his repertoire with the CSO.


An Abbado retrospective on CSO Radio

Snippets from a selected discography on iTunes

BELOW: A copy of the program book, dedicating the Feb. 6-8, 2014, concerts to the memory of Claudio Abbado.