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Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt dies at 86

6 March 2016

The celebrated Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt - considered to be the "pope" of the baroque music revival - has died in Vienna aged 86.

A statement on his website said he "took his last breath peacefully surrounded by family".

The Vienna Musikverein, home to the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra, said his death marked the end of an era.

The conductor announced his retirement in a farewell letter in December, citing health reasons.

"My physical capacities mean that I have to cancel all my upcoming projects," he wrote, saying he would not appear on the concert stage again.

He penned the open letter to fans, who found it in the programme for a concert by the ensemble he founded, the Concentus Musicus Wien (CMW).

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