Obituary: Lady Valerie Solti, Founder of The Solti Foundation, Dies at 83

By Nicolas Quiroga

Lady Valerie Solti, president of the Solti Foundation, died at the age of 83 on March 31, 2021.

Born Valerie Pitts in Leeds, England, a large part of her life was dedicated to cultural organizations, theater, music, and the children’s opera.

But before all that, she was a noted presenter on British television and was part of the original BBC presenter team. She would leave this job to marry her first husband James Sargent.

She would leave Sargent to marry famed conductor Sir Georg Solti, who she had interviewed during her time as a presenter. After his death on September 5, 1997, Lady Solti, together with her two daughters, created the Solti Foundation to help young musicians.

Lady Solti was the patron of The World Orchestra For Peace and worked hard with Sadlers Wella Theater Trust, the Mariinsky Theater Trust, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Music Nel Chiostro, Battignano Italia, Hungarian Cultural Center in London, Liszt Academy in Budapest, and the Company Children’s Opera W11 London Opera.

Her life was one of leadership and support for projects that embodied the spirit of her late husband and she directed the Solti Foundation, the Solti International Conducting Competition, the Solti Conducting Awards, and, the Georg Solti Academy.