BERLIN – German conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch died at his home in the Bavarian city of Grassau, in southern Germany, the Bayerische Staatsoper, or Bavarian State Opera, said Sunday. He was 89.
Sawallisch, who directed the opera’s orchestra for 20 years, died on Friday.
“With his great personality and his unmistakable art he left his imprint for decades on the Bayerische Staatsoper” and up until today Sawallisch’s influence can be noted on the members of the orchestra and the public, the artistic director of the Bayerische Staatsoper, Nikolaus Bachler, said.
The musician attracted international public attention when at age 30 he took the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Sawallisch began his career in 1947 as director of the Augsburger Stadttheater, the Municipal Theater of the city of Augsburg, Germany.
Between 1951 and 1953 he was orchestra director in Salzburg, Austria, and later – up until 1958 – served as the musical director in Aachen, Germany.
In 1971, he became director of the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich.
Sawallisch also worked with the Hessiches Staatstheater – the State Theater of Hesse, in Wiesbaden – and the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Hamburg, directed the Vienna Symphony and, after his phase at the head of the Bayerische Staatsoper, he was music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
In addition to his work as orchestra director, Sawallisch stood out as an excellent piano accompanist and chamber musician.