Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt dies aged 86

Sun Mar 6, 2016 9:28am EST
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ZURICH (Reuters) - Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, a luminary in Europe's classical music scene for decades, has died aged 86.

Known to millions from performances including the New Year's concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the musician born in Berlin and raised in Graz had retired late last year.

"Nikolaus Harnoncourt passed away peacefully on March 5, 2016, surrounded by his family. There is great mourning and gratitude. It was a wonderful collaboration," said a message posted on his website on Sunday by his wife and artistic partner Alice Harnoncourt and their family.

A cellist famed for conducting both orchestral works and opera in Europe's musical capitals, Harnoncourt also collected historical instruments and wrote extensively on the performance of early music.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Mark Potter)

Maestro Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts the traditionel New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonics in Vienna, Austria, in this January 1, 2003 file photo.    REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/Files