Richest BusinessProducers
Net Worth:
$16 Million
Date of Birth:
Oct 21, 1912 - Sep 5, 1997 (84 years old)
Place of Birth:
Conductor, Music Director
💰 Compare Georg Solti's Net Worth

What was Sir Georg Solti's Net Worth?

Georg Solti was a Hungarian orchestral and operatic conductor who had a net worth of $16 million at the time of his death in 1997. Georg Solti passed away on September 5, 1997 at 84 years old. During his life, Sir Georg Solti was worked with major opera companies in Munich, Frankfurt, London, and Chicago, among other cities. Under his leadership, he raised the international profiles of the Covent Garden Opera Company in London and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Solti made over 250 recordings during his prolific career. His recording of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen has twice been voted the greatest recording ever made. For many years, Georg held the record for most Grammy awards and nominations. He won a stunning 31 Grammy Awards during his life, out of an equally-stunning 74 nominations. His Grammy win record was broken by Beyonce in February 2023 when she won her 32nd Grammy. In third place is Quincy Jones, who has 28 wins as of this writing. Alison Krauss and the late Chick Corea are tied for fourth with 27 wins.

Early Life and Education

Georg Solti was born as György Stern on October 21, 1912 in what was then Buda in the Kingdom of Hungary. He was the younger of two children born to Jewish parents Teréz and Móricz. Encouraged to take up the piano from an early age by his musically inclined mother, Solti enrolled at the Ernő Fodor School of Music when he was ten. Two years later, he transferred to the Franz Liszt Academy. There, he studied under some of the most venerable musicians in Hungary, including Béla Bartók, Leó Weiner, and Ernő Dohnányi.

Career Beginnings

Following his graduation from the Franz Liszt Academy in 1930, Solti was hired by the Hungarian State Opera, where he worked as a répétiteur. He also worked for Arturo Toscanini at the Salzburg Festival in Austria. However, Solti's career was disrupted by the rise of Nazism in Europe. On the day of his very first show as a conductor – Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro" – news arrived that Germany had invaded Austria. Instead of going back to Hungary, which was instituting increasingly draconian anti-Jewish laws, Solti went to London, England. There, he made his debut with the Royal Opera. Solti subsequently went to Switzerland, where he remained during World War II. Because he was unable to secure a work permit as a conductor in the country, he made a living teaching piano lessons.

Rise to Fame

Solti experienced a major turnaround in his fortunes after the war. In 1946, he was named musical director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany, a position he won due to the denazification measures taken against most of the leading conductors in the country. Under Solti's leadership, the company rebuilt its repertoire and reputation. Later, in the early 50s, Solti conducted for the first time at the Salzburg Festival and became musical director of the Oper Frankfurt. At Frankfurt from 1952 to 1961, he presented 33 operas in total.

During his years with the Oper Frankfurt, Solti made appearances with various other opera companies and orchestras around the world. He gave concerts in Buenos Aires, Argentina; was a guest conductor at the San Francisco Opera; and debuted at the Edinburgh Festival, Ravinia Festival, and the Metropolitan Opera. Solti also appeared alongside leading orchestras in Vienna, New York City, and Los Angeles, and became musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the early 60s.

Covent Garden

Solti ultimately withdrew from the Los Angeles Philharmonic due to the group's president, Dorothy Chandler, breaching his contract. He instead became musical director of the Covent Garden Opera Company in London. Early on in his tenure, he was the subject of serious opprobrium from a small but vocal portion of the Covent Garden audience, who threw rotten vegetables at him and vandalized his car. However, Solti gradually won the public over as he helped strengthen the chorus and orchestra. He also introduced the stagione system of scheduling performances, replacing the traditional repertory system. Under Solti's direction, Covent Garden became the equal of the greatest opera houses in the world, and in 1968 was officially bestowed with the title of "Royal Opera" by Queen Elizabeth II. Solti left the company after a ten-year tenure as one of the world's most lauded working conductors.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

In 1968, Solti accepted his second offer to become musical director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As he did with Covent Garden, he lifted the international profile of the company considerably, taking it on its first overseas tour ever in 1971. Moreover, Solti substantially expanded the Symphony Orchestra's repertoire by introducing new works such as Tippett's "Fourth Symphony" and "Byzantium." After stepping down as musical director in 1991, Solti remained with the CSO as conductor. Overall, he conducted 999 concerts with the Orchestra; he passed away shortly before he was scheduled for his 1,000th.

Other Positions

Among his other positions, Solti was musical director of the Orchestre de Paris from 1972 to 1975. Later, from 1979 to 1983, he served as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1995, Solti created the World Orchestra for Peace, a group of 81 musicians from 40 countries. Throughout the later years of his career, he frequently served as a guest conductor at Covent Garden.


Much of Solti's incredible fame and success was due to his numerous recordings, which gained him international recognition before he became widely known on the opera scene. He signed with Decca Records in 1946, and went on to produce over 250 recordings throughout his long career. Playing with a wide range of orchestras, Solti did recordings of works by such masters as Brahms, Beethoven, Haydn, Mahler, Verdi, Strauss, and Wagner. His most venerated recording was of Wagner's operatic tetralogy "Der Ring des Nibelungen," recorded between 1958 and 1965. The recording was a surprise commercial smash, spending weeks on the Billboard charts. It would later be voted the greatest recording ever made by professional critics polled for the BBC's Music Magazine.

Personal Life and Death

While exiled in Switzerland during World War II, Solti met Hedwig Oeschli, whom he married in 1946. The pair separated in 1964. Not long after that, Solti met British television presenter Valerie Pitts, who was sent to interview him. Although she was married, Solti pursued her for around three years, eventually persuading her to divorce her husband. The two subsequently married in 1967, and had two daughters.

In September of 1997, Solti died in his sleep while on vacation in the south of France. He was 84 years of age. Solti's memoirs, which were written with the aid of Harvey Sachs, were published the following month.

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