News has come of the very sad passing of Maestro Lorin Maazel, aged 84, at his home in Virginia, USA. He will be remembered as one of the finest conductors of all time – during his illustrious career serving Principal positions with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna State Opera, Berlin Radio Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic.
Maestro Maazel (pictured) died on 13 July, on the 10-year anniversary of another legendary conductor Carlos Kleiber’s death in Slovenia.
Closer to home, in a bleak start to July, Australia’s arts community has lost two of its champions, one a highly respected conductor and the other a passionate patron of the arts. Former Victorian MP and parliamentary secretary for the arts Lorraine Elliott died in Melbourne on July 2 and the conductor Myer Fredman passed away in Hobart in the same week.
Ms Elliott served as the Liberal MP for Mooroolbark from 1992 to 2002 and was parliamentary secretary to the premier for the arts under former Liberal premier Jeff Kennett from 1996 to 1999. Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said Ms Elliott was admired and respected. “Lorraine was truly passionate about fostering and promoting the arts, making a real and lasting difference to those in need in our community, and encouraging and mentoring more women into parliament and public life,” the Premier said.
More recently she was appointed to the board of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne, having served as a board member or director for other public organisations, including the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, St Vincent’s Hospital and Melbourne International Arts Festival.
The Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust published this tribute: “With a great deal of sadness we want to let our community know that director of Melba Opera Trust, Lorraine Elliot AM, has passed away after a short illness. Melba Opera Trust expresses its sincere condolences to Lorraine’s family and friends. Lorraine’s lifelong passion and enthusiasm for the arts was a precious force that will be missed by all of the Melba community. We will remember with deep appreciation our warm, sensitive and determined friend.”
The opera community, among others, also suffered a loss with the passing of conductor Myer Fredman, who was very active in opera and orchestral music in Australian in the 70s, 80s and 90s, according to fellow-conductor and CLASSIC FM broadcaster Graham Abbott.
“Myer was very active in opera and orchestral conducting in Europe, and especially in his native UK, prior to moving to Australia, most notably as a staff conductor at Glyndebourne and, for many years, Head of Glyndebourne Touring Opera. He was also a respected teacher of conducting.
“Myer conducted the Australian premieres of Tippet’s A Midsummer Marriage and Britten’s Death in Venice, and was a highly-regarded Mozart and Britten conductor. He was Music Director of the State Opera of South Australia before being appointed Head of the Sydney Conservatorium Opera School (which is where he was my conducting teacher in the mid-80s),” Abbott said. “He moved to Hobart some years ago and in semi-retirement continued to conduct and teach as he was able.”