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Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt dies at 86

VIENNA, (AFP) -- Celebrated Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, considered to be the "pope" of the Baroque music revival, died Saturday aged 86, his family announced via the APA news agency.

"Nikolaus Harnoncourt took his last breath peacefully surrounded by family," said the short announcement run by the Austrian news agency.

In December Harnoncourt had announced his retirement, citing health reasons, in a farewell letter to the audience of the Musikverein, home to the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra.