Georges Pretre, Celebrated French Conductor, Dies At 92

Dieter Nagl/AFP/Getty Images
Georges Pretre conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the New Years concert on Jan. 1, 2010 in Vienna's "Goldener Musikvereinsaal." 

Georges Pretre, who conducted renowned symphonies from Vienna to Milan's La Scala and New York's Metropolitan Opera and was instrumental in Maria Callas' opera career, has died. He was 92.

The Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Vienna's Musikverein concert hall said that Pretre died Wednesday. French media reported that he died in his home in southern France.

Pretre last conducted in October at the Musikverein, where his rendition of Ravel's Bolero earned a standing ovation. The Vienna Symphony posted a video of him blowing kisses to the crowd and smiling broadly.

Born in France on Aug. 24, 1924, he studied at the Paris Conservatory and was Callas' first conductor at the Paris Opera.

France's culture minister praised him as a "remarkable ambassador" appreciated for his "art of letting musicians play."


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