Who was Georg Solti? Record-breaking conductor who made Grammys history

Solti clocked up 31 Grammy wins before his death in 1997

Tom Murray
Monday 06 February 2023 10:28 GMT
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Stars walk Grammys red carpet ahead of award show

Beyoncé is on track to become the most decorated artist in Grammys history tonight (5 February).

The US singer has 30 Grammy Awards to her name already and is nominated for a further seven at tonight’s ceremony at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles for her 2022 album Renaissance.

She picked up two of those Grammys at the pre-show Premiere Ceremony, so needs just one more win to tie and two to beat the current record holder, the late Hungarian-British conductor, Sir Georg Solti.

Follow The Independent’s 2023 Grammys coverage live here.

Before his passing in 1997, Solti clocked up an astonishing 31 Grammy trophies.

Born in Budapest in 1912, Solti fled the country during World War II due to his Jewish background and the rise of anti-Jewish laws in Hungary.

After the war, Solti became music director of the Bavarian State Opera. From 1961 until 1971, he was music director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Solti then served as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 22 years from 1969 to 1991, according to the orchestra’s website.

Georg Solti and Beyoncé

In 1972, Solti was honoured with a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for his outstanding contribution to music.

During his career, he recorded over 40 operas and over 250 discs. He was known for his kinetic approach to conducting; one of his biographers, William Barry Furlong, wrote in Season With Solti: A Year in the Life of the Chicago Symphony that at times the conductor “looks like nothing so much as a spastic stork, bending and rearing convulsively, elbows pumping, knees popping, torso labouring until it seems almost as if he is going to tear the music from himself in a Dionysian frenzy.”

In addition to his knighthood, he was awarded the Knight Commander’s Cross with Badge and Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1986.

Beyoncé is also the Grammys’ most-nominated artist to date, tied with her husband, rapper Jay-Z, with 88 nominations each. Meanwhile, U2 holds the record for most awards won by a group with 22 trophies in total.

Renaissance is Beyoncé’s first solo studio album since her 2016 visual album, Lemonade.

Find the full list of nominees here, all the night’s performers here and The Independent’s Roisin O’Connor’s expert predictions here.

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