In 1960 Solti signed a three-year contract (effective in 1962) to be music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, having guest conducted the orchestra in winter concerts in downtown Los Angeles, during the summer at the Hollywood Bowl, and in other Southern California concerts. The orchestra had hoped that Solti would lead the orchestra when it moved into its new home at the still-to-be-completed Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and he even began to appoint musicians to the orchestra. However, Solti abruptly resigned the position in 1961 without officially taking the post after learning that the Philharmonic board of directors failed to consult him before naming then 26 year-old Zubin Mehta to be assistant conductor of the orchestra. Mehta was subsequently named as music director in Solti's place.
In 1961 Solti became music director at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, serving in that capacity until 1971. There, Solti's bald head and demanding rehearsal style earned him the nickname, "The Screaming Skull" (after the film of the same name). He thereafter spent much of his time in Britain and the United States.
His first marriage to Hedi Oechsli, in 1946, ended in divorce. His second marriage was to Valerie Pitts, a British television presenter whom he met when she was sent to interview him. They had two daughters, Gabrielle and Claudia. In 1972 he was naturalised as a United Kingdom citizen. He had been awarded an honorary Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1971, and was known as Sir Georg Solti after his naturalisation.
Solti was a great supporter and mentor to many young musicians, including the Hungarian soprano Sylvia Sass, with whom he recorded Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and Bartok's "Bluebeard's Castle." In addition, in 1994, Solti directed the "Solti Orchestral Project" at Carnegie Hall, a training workshop for young American musicians.
"Usually conductors are relaxed at rehearsals and tense at the concerts. Solti is the reverse. He is very tense at rehearsals, which makes us concentrate, but relaxed during the performance, which is a great asset to the orchestra.
In total, Solti conducted 999 performances with the CSO. His 1000th performance was scheduled to be in October 1997, around the time of his 85th birthday. The City of Chicago renamed the block of East Adams Street adjacent to Symphony Center as "Sir Georg Solti Place" in his memory.
Solti consolidated the reputation of the CSO as one of the great orchestras of the world, while reiteratively reminding everyone how much he owed to the pioneering work of Fritz Reiner, who never toured the orchestra abroad. Solti took the CSO on its first tour to Europe in 1971. Solti's recordings with the CSO included the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Anton Bruckner, and Gustav Mahler. Solti recorded complete operas with the CSO as well, including:
Solti continued to add new works to his repertoire in the latter days of his career, voicing particular enthusiasm for the music of Dmitri Shostakovich, whom he admitted he failed to appreciate fully during the composer's lifetime. His commercial recordings of Shostakovich symphonies included Nos. 1 (Concertgebouw Orchestra), 5 (VPO), 8, 9 (twice : VPO & Carnegie Hall Project),10, 13 and 15 (all CSO).
Solti never truly retired, and his sudden death in 1997 meant several years of planned performances and recording projects would never be realized. According to his last wish, Solti rests in Hungarian soil. After a state funeral, he was placed beside the remains of Bartók: his one-time tutor and mentor. After Solti's death, his widow and daughters began the Solti Foundation to assist young musicians. In 2002 a website dedicated to Solti was launched, under the instigation of Lady Solti.
Solti co-wrote his memoirs with Harvey Sachs, published in the UK under the title Solti on Solti,, Memoirs in the USA, and Emlékeim in Hungary, and the book appeared in the month after his death. His life has also been documented in a film by Peter Maniura entitled Sir Georg Solti: The Making of a Maestro.
In September 2007 as a tribute on the 10th anniversary of Solti's death, a recording of his last concert was released on Decca, a performance with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5.
US Patent Issued to George Mason Intellectual Properties on Sept. 6 for "Method of Identifying Unique Target Sequence" (Virginia Inventors)
Sep 08, 2011; ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 8 -- United States Patent no. 8,014,955, issued on Sept. 6, was assigned to George Mason Intellectual...