Saturday, March 13, 2010

Who is Georg Solti?

When most people think about Grammy Award winners, the name Georg Solti would probably not ring a bell. However, he has the most wins with 31 out of a total of 74 nominations for classical music. He was born Gy├Ârgy Stern in Budapest, Hungary in 1912 and started playing the piano at an early age and became a conductor in 1935. His father changed his name to conceal the family's Jewish ancestry because of anti-semitism. Solti and his family fled from Hungary to Switzerland in 1939 to escape the Nazis.

Solti's career really took off in the 1960s winning Grammy Awards conducting recordings with Vienna Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and finally the Chicago Philharmonic. He won his first Grammy in 1962 and his last in 1997.

For all his achievemts, he was given an honorary knighthood by the British in 1971 but was only able to use the title "Sir" in 1972 when he became a naturalized citizen.

He was scheduled to conduct his 1,000th performance with the Chicago Philharmonic in October 1997 to celebrate his 85th birthday but died suddenly in September of that year of a heart attack. He was buried in his homeland of Hungary.

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