Biography of Claudio Abbado (1933-2014)

Italian Orchestra conductor born in Milan on June 26, 1933 and died in Bologna on January 20, 2014.

After discovering his musical vocation at the age of eight, he joined the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of his native city, where he followed studies in piano, composition and conducting. After completing these, in 1955, he went to Vienna, where he followed masterclasses with Hans Swarowsky. In 1958 he received the Koussevitzky award at Tanglewood (United States), after which he returned to Italy, where he earned a place of Professor at the Milan Conservatory Chamber music. In 1960, within the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Alessandro Scarlatti, debuted as a director at the Teatro alla Scala in his hometown.

Three years later came the start of his international career when, after winning the first prize in the Mitropoulos competition for orchestral conducting, was forced to renounce to the address of an American Orchestra have invited Herbert von Karajan to conduct the second Symphony of Gustav Mahler at the Salzburg Festival. This was his first contact with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, which will be guest since 1971 and director holder from 1986 until 1989.

Also in 1971 he received the Mozart Medal of the Viennese Mozartgemeine and began an international career which led him to the best theatres and concert in the world, although its main commitment was to his hometown, Milan, whose opera was appointed musical director in 1968, charge to which added that of artistic director between 1977 and 1979. In 1982, he founded the Orchestra Philharmonic of la Scala in order to open up theatre to the Symphonic repertoire. They were years of collaboration with other Milanese artistic figures, such as the pianist Maurizio Pollini or the stage director Giorgio Strehler, in favour of cultural dissemination among the lower classes, the composer Luigi Nono: concerts in schools and factories, open rehearsals, etc. He also used his position at the head of la Scala to expand the operatic repertoire with commissions as to gran sole carico d'amore Nono (1975), although his commitment to the music of his time came from earlier times; Thus, in 1965 he conducted Atomic death of Manzoni.

Since the end of the Decade of the seventies, its activity was extended until the end of harming the artistic quality of its concerts and recordings: director of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1988, had already accepted the direction of the European Community Youth Orchestra in 1977. In 1989, the death of Herbert von Karajan, he was elected director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, which remained until the spring of 2002. For his farewell staggered, Abbado chose the Salzburg Easter Festival, where he directed Wagner'sParsifal; the German capital, where the Philharmonic played King Lear of Shostakovich and, finally, the Musikverein in Vienna, with the interpretation of the Symphony No. 7 Mahler. Britain's Simon Rattle picked up the baton and the baton of Abbado in front of the Berlin Philharmonic.

His recordings include all the great repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries both in the Symphonic field and in the operatic. Recordings of the symphonies and overtures of Brahms, as well as his symphonic pieces Nanie and Schicksalied stand out from its extensive work. In the operatic repertoire, have achieved fame their versions of Rossini's La Cenerentola, the Barber of Seville and, above all, the pride starring Carmen Teresa Berganza and Plácido Domingo. He is also author of a book of memoirs entitled Je serai chef d'Orchestre, published in 1986.

In April 2006, he was awarded the Yehudi Menuhim award to the integration of Arts and education, awarded by the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía. In the words of the jury: "the music world recognizes unanimously to Claudio Abbado as one of the great directors of his time".