The Munich-based Bavarian State Opera, which Sawallisch led from 1971 to 1992, said he died Friday at his home in Grassau, southern Germany.
"His enormous personality and unrivaled artistry shaped this house for decades," the opera's current head, Nikolaus Bachler, said in a statement Sunday. "His name is linked to the Munich opera like no other. His influence continues to be felt until this day and will continue to do so."
Taking the helm of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1993, at age 70, he guided the ensemble through a decade of financial and artistic turmoil. He was criticized for his traditional approach, but others praised the purity of his performance.-- AP