Celebrated German conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch has died at the age of 89.

The musician passed away at his home in Grassau, Germany on Friday (22Feb13).

Born in Munich, Sawallisch began his career at the Augsburg opera house in 1947, and went on to become the youngest conductor to lead the Berlin Philharmonic in 1953, aged 30.

He made his name as the Principal Conductor of the Vienna Symphony in Austria from 1960 to 1970, and in 1971 was appointed Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, a role he served for 21 years.

Sawallisch moved to the U.S. in 1993 to take over the prestigious Philadelphia Orchestra in Pennsylvania, and spent a decade with the city players.

Paying tribute to Sawallisch, Nikolaus Bachler of the Bavarian State Opera says, "For decades, he left his stamp on our house with his great personality and his inimitable art. His name, like no other, is connected with the Munich opera and even today his influence can still be felt."