This is the obituary in the New York Times:
September 14, 2005
Hermann Michael, Maestro, Dies at 68
By ANNE MIDGETTE
Hermann Michael, a conductor who appeared around the world and was music director of the Phoenix Symphony for seven seasons, died on Sept. 1 at his home in Uffing, Germany. He was 68.
The cause was aplastic anemia, a rare blood disease diagnosed in 1999, the orchestra announced.
In addition to working in Phoenix, Mr. Michael had a special relationship with Seattle, where he appeared nearly every season as a guest with the opera company after making his American debut there in 1984. He led three complete "Ring" cycles in Seattle, and regularly performed with the symphony.
Mr. Michael conducted at the Metropolitan Opera a number of times, leading "Fidelio," "The Flying Dutchman," and "Die Fledermaus." Other guest appearances took him to the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and many other major ensembles in Europe and North America.
Born in Schwäbisch Gmünd, a Bavarian town, in 1937, Mr. Michael studied piano and cello at the Stuttgart conservatory, but had had no formal conducting training when he audited a master class of Herbert von Karajan's in Berlin in 1960. Afterward he announced to Karajan that he could do that, too. Karajan had him come back the next day and conduct the Sibelius Fifth Symphony. Even more surprisingly, he approved of what he heard.
After this experience and a three-week master class with another acclaimed conductor, Hans Swarowsky, Mr. Michael was invited to take part in the first Cantelli Conducting Competition in Italy, which he won. He later served as Karajan's assistant at the Vienna State Opera and undertook some significant guest engagements before becoming director of the Bremen Opera from 1970 to 1978.
His debut in Seattle came at the recommendation of the American baritone Dale Duesing, who sings frequently in Germany and Seattle. Later in his life, Mr. Michael taught conducting at the Munich Musikhochschule, a position he gave up in 2000 because of ill health.
Mr. Michael met his wife, Brigitta, a violinist, when he was 21. She survives him, along with their four children, Ariane, Angela, Ramon and Dunja, and 10 grandchildren.