We mourn the passing of an extraordinary musician and human being. His love for music and his insatiable curiosity were an inspiration to us and have left their mark on our music-making since his first concerts with us in 1966. We are proud to be able to number him among our chief conductors and be part of his musical legacy. His death is a tremendous loss for all of us. The Berliner Philharmoniker pay tribute to Claudio Abbado with deep love and gratitude.
Sir Simon Rattle pays tribute to the colleague: “We have lost a great musician and a very generous man. Ten years ago we all wondered whether he would survive the illness which has now claimed him, but instead, he, and we as musicians and public, could enjoy an extraordinary Indian Summer, in which all the facets of his art came together in an unforgettable way.
He said to me a few years ago, ‘Simon, my illness was terrible, but the results have not been all bad: I feel that somehow I hear from the inside of my body, as if the loss of my stomach gave me internal ears. I cannot express how wonderful that feels. And I still feel that music saved my life in that time!’
Always a great conductor, his performances in these last years were transcendent, and we all feel privileged to have witnessed them. Personally, he was always immensely kind and generous to me, from my earliest days as a conductor, and we kept warm and funny contact together even up to last Friday. He remains deep in my heart and memory.”