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Georg Solti
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Georg Solti

Georg Solti (October 21, 1912 - September 5, 1997) was a well-known orchestral and operatic conductor, who was still actively engaged in performing right up until his death.

Solti was born György Solti in Budapest, where he learned the piano and studied at the Franz Liszt Academy. By 1935, he was gaining recognition as a conductor, and made his debut at the Budapest Opera in 1938 with The Marriage of Figaro. In 1939, he fled Hungary because of his Jewish blood, and moved to Switzerland, where he continued his career.

After the war, Solti was music director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and Frankfurt Oper. In 1951, he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival conducting Mozart's Idomeneo.

In 1961, Solti was engaged to conduct at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, were he was music director from 1961 until 1971, and thereafter spent much of his time in Britain and the United States. He married a British television presenter, Valerie Pitts, whom he met when she was sent to interview him. In 1972, he assumed British citizenship. He was later knighted, becoming Sir Georg Solti.

Solti was music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1969 until 1992. He was music director of L'Orchestre de Paris from 1972 until 1975. From 1979 until 1983, he was principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Solti won thirty-two Grammy awards, more than any other artist in any category.

Solti was particularly known as a great conductor of Richard Wagner. He conducted the first-ever complete studio recording of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. His performances and recordings of works by Verdi, Mahler and Bartók were also widely admired.