Der Spiegel reports that German conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch, who held positions at the Vienna Symphony, the Bavarian State Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra. passed away on Friday.
Updated, Monday, February 25, 2013:
The Philadelphia Orchestra, where maestro Sawallisch served as its sixth MD from 1993-2003 as was conductor laureate, has issued a few statement. They elaborated that he passed away on Friday at 89 years old in his home in Grassau. Yesterday, they played Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll at an afternoon concert in remembrance.
From Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin comments, “The Philadelphia Orchestra family is profoundly saddened by the death of its beloved former music director, Conductor Laureate Wolfgang Sawallisch. During his 10-year tenure as music director he cared deeply for the Orchestra and its musicians, helped preserve and nurture our Philadelphia Sound, and enriched and expanded upon the Orchestra’s century-old tradition of excellence, leaving us an enduring legacy of artistic achievements. Off the podium he was also a dear friend to many in the Orchestra and in the Philadelphia community. He has been missed, and his memory will be treasured.”
From Philadelphia Orchestra Chairman Richard B. Worley: “Great orchestras are built on a foundation of great music directors, and Wolfgang Sawallisch’s tenure as music director is part of the legacy of our great Orchestra. Maestro Sawallisch left an indelible mark on our organization, and everyone who knows this Orchestra knows that the ensemble was strengthened under his leadership. We are fortunate to have known him, and we will never forget the way his smile lit up his eyes.”
From Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore: “A loss such as this deeply affects our artistic and musical community—not just here in Philadelphia but around the world. Wolfgang Sawallisch was a man of profound artistry and unwavering yet quiet dedication. We will continue to honor his rich legacy as would befit him—by making beautiful and inspired music that touches the hearts and minds of all those who will hear it.”
From Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim: “Truly Maestro Sawallisch was a once-in-a-lifetime figure in the world of music. He was the perfect combination of musicianship, craft, and integrity. The Philadelphia Orchestra was his greatest instrument and all of us who had the privilege to perform for him in those transcendent concerts will forever be in his debt.”