Sad news: Valerie Solti has died

Sad news: Valerie Solti has died


norman lebrecht

April 01, 2021

We hear from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra that the maestro’s widow died on March 31. Lady Solti was 83.

Valerie Pitts was a prominent BBC television presenter when she was sent in 1964 to interview Sir Georg in his hotel room, and he was having trouble finding his socks …. or at least that’s what they both told me.

She was sensitive, sympathetic, tolerant and intelligent, the perfect maestro partner. After Georg’s death in 1997, she maintained the Solti Foundation for the support of young musicians.

I mourn Valerie’s passing and offer condolences to her daughters.


photo: CSO


  • Alexander T says:

    Sad news indeed.
    My condolences to her family.

  • Veronika ilinskaya says:

    Lady Solti has been the most humble and kind supporter of musicians. She has done so much for many artists, young and established.. I think everyone would agree, she was absolutely selfless and full of encouragement and romanticism. She saw all artists as superior beings. I’m sure so many people will be upset with this loss.. ❤️

  • Peter San Diego says:

    It has been a rough day, with obits posted thick and fast. And this is sad news; also startling to realize that Solti, himself, has been gone for nigh on 24 years. Condolences to Lady Valerie’s family and friends.

    • malcolm.duberee says:

      Many haven’t missed “Shitty Solti” (as he was called by some in orchestras he beat time for and collected cheques from for his mediocre work) for one second since his passing. He was living proof of how little talent mixed with a certain brand of personal magnetism can rise to the top in this business called music. He crossed eyes with Val over some ‘lost socks’ and they both spotted an opportunity to improve things for themselves.

      • It takes talent to see talent. It takes dignity to rise above resentment and it only takes a third rate individual to embarrass themselves with a cynical deformation of the dead.

  • James Weiss says:

    I knew Lady Solti – Valerie – for close to 40 years. Whenever I was coming to Chicago she’d ask me to punch. We’d gossip for hours. She was a loyal friend and a fun companion. The perfect wife for a conductor like Sir Georg. I will miss her. Rest in peace.

  • caranome says:

    He does not have the classical good looks, but she, like many others, fell for Solti’s rakish charm and charisma Hungarians are famous for. A torrid love affair based on mutual seduction turned into a long-standing & by all accounts happy marriage. One could do a lot worse. RIP.

  • Lady Weidenfeld says:

    The saddest news! She was the ideal Maestro partner, as you say, because she was never trying to compete but was supportive and understanding. I had no idea she was ill and send deep condolences to her daughters

  • Dr. Burkhard Bastuck says:

    The partners of the International Conducting Competition Sir Georg Solti, Frankfurt, Germany, mourn the death of Lady Valerie Solti, the Competition’s patroness. We extend our condolences to her daughters and their families.

  • Novagerio says:

    Solti pursued her romantically and finally persuaded her to leave her husband. He had done the same with his first wife Hedi (Oechsli), persuading her to leave her husband and child.

    R.I.P. Gabrielle and Claudia Solti.

    Here’s the link to the webside dedicated to Georg Solti, launched under the instigation of Lady Solti

  • Rik says:

    Lady Solti was an elegant and knowledgeable panellist on the BBC quiz show ‘Face the Music’.

  • Adi Jehangir says:

    Very sad indeed. Have known Valerie since 1982 and was one of the nicest and most intelligent persons I ever met. Moreover, she was an ideal wife to Maestro. She will be much missed by her many friends and admirers. RIP

  • Agnes Kory says:

    Deeply sad news. Lady Solti kept her humanity no matter what came up. RIP…

  • Zandonai says:

    2 women left their husbands for Solti. What man.

  • Rob Keeley says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Lady Solti just once at a concert at SJSS: the Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competitions, for which I’d written the test piece. She was most gracious and encouraging: and she introduced me to one of the Rothschilds, can’t remember which.

  • Wendy Trevor-Roberts says:

    Sorry to hear of the death of Lady Solti, my thoughts and condolences to her two daughters and their families.

  • Neil says:

    I first knew her when she read the local news on Tyne Tees TV after it launched in 1959. She didn’t however know me! I met her a few years ago at a wedding and she reminisced about those times. Absolutely lovely woman!