Lorin Varencove Maazel (born March 6, 1930) is an American conductor, violinist and composer.
Early life 
Maazel was born to Jewish American parents of Russian origin in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, and brought up in the United States, primarily at his parents' home in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood. His father, Lincoln Maazel (1903–2009), was a singer, teacher of voice and piano, and an actor (he co-starred in George A. Romero's 1977 horror movie Martin); and his mother, Marion "Marie" Shulman Maazel (1894–1992), founded the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. His grandfather Isaac was a violinist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for twenty years. Both Lincoln and Marie gave interviews for the Oral History Collection at the University of Pittsburgh, Lincoln’s in 1994, and Marie’s in 1974. These can be heard online.
Lorin Maazel was a child prodigy, taking his first conducting lesson at age seven with Vladimir Bakaleinikov and making his debut at age eight. At the age of eleven, he guest conducted the NBC Symphony Orchestra on the radio. At twelve he toured America to conduct major orchestras. He made his violin debut at the age of fifteen. He attended Peabody High School and the University of Pittsburgh. Maazel studied briefly with Pierre Monteux in 1945.
In 1960, Maazel became the first American to conduct at Bayreuth. He was chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1965 to 1971 and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1965 to 1975.
In 1972, Maazel began his tenure as music director at the Cleveland Orchestra, succeeding George Szell. Maazel's emotional, rich interpretation of music greatly differed from Szell's characteristic crisp, defined precision in performance. A notable achievement during this time was the first complete recording of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, using an all-African-American cast (except for the chorus). Maazel held the post until 1982. He has not conducted the orchestra since his departure; a scheduled engagement in 2006 did not occur because of illness.
Maazel served at the Vienna State Opera from 1982 to 1984 as general manager and chief conductor. In 1980 he had succeeded Willi Boskovsky as conductor at the Vienna New Year's Concert, and he led this televised annual event each year until 1986. He has also returned to it four times, in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2005.
From 1984 to 1988, Maazel was the music consultant to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and its music director from 1988 to 1996. From 1993-2002, he was chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich.
In 1989, expecting - but failing - to become successor to Herbert von Karajan as chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Maazel suddenly and publicly severed all connections with the orchestra when it was announced that Claudio Abbado was to take over. He claimed that his decision was because he was concerned for the orchestra's well-being.
In 2000, Maazel made a guest-conducting appearance with the New York Philharmonic in two weeks of subscription concerts after an absence of over twenty years, which met with positive reaction from the orchestra musicians. This engagement led to his appointment in January 2001 as the orchestra's next music director, starting in 2002, succeeding Kurt Masur. Maazel conducted the New York Philharmonic on their landmark visit to Pyongyang, North Korea on February 26, 2008. He led the orchestra in renditions of the North Korean and United States national anthems, Dvorak's New World Symphony, George Gershwin's An American in Paris, and closed with the traditional Korean folk song "Arirang". Maazel stepped down from the New York Philharmonic after the 2008-2009 season.
In 2004, Maazel became the music director of the Arturo Toscanini Philharmonic. From September 2006 till March 2011, he was the musical director of the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, house orchestra of the opera house Palau de les Arts, Valencia, Spain. His last concert there as Music Director took place on his 81st birthday on the 6th of March 2011, conducting his only opera "1984". In March 2010, Maazel was named the next chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, effective with the 2012-13 season. But an early departure by Christian Thielemann prompted Maazel to start a year early, taking over important concerts from September 2011
Maazel has conducted the music for three operatic films, Don Giovanni (1979), Carmen (1984), and Otello (1986).
His own compositions include an opera, 1984, based on the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. He was depicted conducting Vienna's New Year concert on an Austrian postage stamp issued in 2005. Maazel and his wife Dietlinde Turban operate a summer music festival called Castleton Festival at their Castleton, Virginia 600-acre (2.4 km) estate.