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Colombian Violinist Carlos Villa Has Died, Aged 84

Villa led a number of orchestras as concertmaster and also conducted the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia


The Colombian violinist and conductor Carlos Villa has passed away at the age of 84.

Villa was born in 1939 and initially learned both the piano and the violin. After finishing school, he went to America, where he furthered his studies with the renowned pedagogue Ivan Galamian at the Curtis Institute of Music. Afterward, Villa went on to Zürich, where he continued to take private lessons with Yehudi Menuhin.

In 1967, at the invitation of Otto Klemperer, Villa became the concertmaster of London's New Philharmonia Orchestra, a position which he held for the next five years. During this time he worked with conductors such as Giulini, George Szell, Stokowski, Leinsdorf, Seiji Osawa, Daniel Barenboim, Giulini, Sir John Barbirolli, and Sir Adrian Boult, among others.

In 1973, Villa went to Austria to lead the Camerata Academic in Salzburg. This was followed by a return to his homeland, where he became conductor and Artistic Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá.

Following a move to New York, Villa appeared with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, The Westchester Philharmonic, and the American Composer's Orchestra.

Much of his playing lives on in prominent non-classical recordings — including on MGM films, and on Beatles tracks such as "Eleanor Rigby" and "A Day in the Life".

"We deeply regret the passing of the great master Carlos Villa," wrote the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia in a statement. "At the National Symphony of Colombia, we treasure and exalt your inspiration, your example of life and your wonderful human quality."

"As we celebrate his life and his work, we express our deepest condolences to his family and his many friends. Rest in peace, Maestro. We will forever hold his name and his legacy high."

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