Claudio Abbado: In Memoriam

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On January 19 conductor Claudio Abbado passed away. I would like to share a recollection in words and images of my brief encounter with him in 1996. Sony Classical sent me to Salzburg, Austria to photograph the maestro for an upcoming release of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony performed with the Berlin Philharmonic. I was warned a number of times that my task would not be an easy one, and that I would have limited and brief access to Abbado during my three days in Salzburg.

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As it turned out Abbado could not have been more cordial, allowing me to steal him away a couple of times for a portrait session. At one point he asked me to follow him to his red sports car – we got in and traveled 45 minutes up into the mountains to his temporary home, and he showed me a manuscript of the Ninth Symphony that his father had given him as a gift many years earlier. It was a warm and quiet moment spent with a man who exuded musical expression.

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