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A French conductor best known for his penchant for French music, Georges Prêtre was born in Waziers on August 14, 1924. He studied at the Paris Conservatory with Maurice Duruflé and other music legends. Upon his graduation, he took up a pseudonym — Georges Dherain — and conducted at a number of small opera houses in France. His official debut came in 1961 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and during that decade he made stops at the New York Metropolitan Opera and La Scala in Milan. He worked with Maria Callas, and was also conductor for two of Franco Zeffirelli's films in the '80s. In 2008, he conducted the Vienna New Year's concert.