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Georg Solti

Sir Georg Solti (October 21, 1912 - September 5, 1997) was a popular orchestral conductor, still actively engaged in performing right up until his death. He 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. In 1961, he came to Covent Garden, and thereafter spent much of his time in Britain and the USA. 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 (he is also sometimes referred to as Sir George Solti).

After the war, Solti was music director of the Munich and Frankfurt opera. Solti was music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1969-1992 and was music director of London's Royal Opera, Covent Garden from 1961-1971. He was music director of L'Orchestre de Paris from 1972-1975 and from 1979 - 1983 he became principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

He won 32 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 The Ring of the Nibelung, Wagner's great operatic tetralogy. His performances and recordings of works by Giuseppe Verdi, Gustav Mahler and Bela Bartok were also widely admired.