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Subject: Claudio Abbado, Italian conductor, dies aged 80

Written By: Philip Eno on 01/20/14 at 5:25 am

Celebrated Italian conductor Claudio Abbado has died aged 80.

The former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra passed away earlier today, AFP reports.

Attilia Giuliani, head of the Abbadiani Association, confirmed the death to the news agency.

"I found out half an hour ago from his personal doctor. This is such a painful moment," Giuliani said.

Born in Milan, Italy in 1933, Abbado studied piano, composition and conducting at Milan Conservatory. He made his debut at La Scala in his hometown in 1960, later serving as its musical director from 1968-1986. He became principal conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic in 1971, and served as the conductor for the Vienna State Opera from 1986-1991.

Abbado was principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1979-1986, with whom he recorded several albums for the Deutsche Grammophon label. He also served as the chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.

During his career, Abbado was known for performing a range of Romantic pieces, particularly the work of Gustav Mahler. In 1997 he won a Grammy Award in the Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra) category. In 2012, he was voted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame and awarded the conductor prize at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards.

Last year Abbado was appointed to the Italian Senate as a Senator for life by President Giorgio Napolitano.

Abbado was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2000 and the treatment led to the removal of a portion of his digestive system.

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