Conductor Claudio Abbado dies at 80

ROME (AP) — Claudio Abbado, a star in the great generation of Italian conductors who was revered by musicians in the world's leading orchestras for developing a strong rapport with them while still allowing them their independence, has died. He was 80.

Raffaela Grimaudo, spokeswoman for the Bologna mayor's office, said Abbado died Monday morning.

Abbado made his debut in 1960 at La Scala in his home city of Milan and went on to be its musical director for nearly 20 years. Among his many other stints were as musical director of the Vienna State Opera, the Berlin Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra and chief guest conductor of the Chicago Philharmonic.

Even as he battled illness in his later years, Abbado founded his own all-star orchestra in Lucerne, Switzerland.

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