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GRAMMY-winning Italian conductor Claudio Abbado died Jan. 20 following a lengthy illness. He was 80. Born in Milan, Abbado studied composition and conducting at the Milan Conservatory and won the Koussevitzky Prize for conducting in 1958. Abbado made his professional debut in 1960 at La Scala in Milan, where he was music director from 1968–1986. In subsequent years he served as music director of the Berlin Philarmonic, Vienna State Opera and the London Symphony Orchestra. Abbado earned 21 GRAMMY nominations throughout his career, winning two GRAMMYs — Best Small Ensemble Performance (With Or Without Conductor) for Hindemith: Kammermusik No. 1 With Finale 1921, Op. 24 No. 1 in 1997, and Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra) for conducting Beethoven: Piano Cons. Nos. 2 & 3 with soloist Martha Argerich in 2005. For the upcoming 56th GRAMMY Awards, Abbado garnered a nomination for Best Orchestral Performance for conducting the Orchestra Mozart's performance of Schumann: Symphony No. 2; Overtures Manfred & Genoveva. “His deep respect for music drove his inspiring performances as well as his commitment to new music and young musicians,” said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow.
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