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Claudio Abbado Biography

Claudio Abbado Tickets

Claudio Abbado In-depth Biography

Claudio Abbado} is one of the leading conductors of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. He has held a number of prestigious posts, any one of which would be a crowning achievement for a conductor, and his musical presence in both concert and recordings has left an undeniable legacy of excellence.

His family traces its roots to a prominent Moorish family expelled from Spain in 1492 and is said to include the architect of the Alhambra. His father was {%Michelangelo Abbado}, a violinist and teacher who gave both Claudio} and his brother, {%Marcello Abbado}, their first piano and music lessons ({%Marcello} has gone on to become a pianist and composer).

Claudio} was educated at the Milan Conservatory, graduating in 1955 with a certificate in piano. While a student there, he also studied conducting with Antonio Votto}. In 1955, he studied piano with Friedrich Gulda} in Salzburg, and then (from 1956-1958) attended Hans Swarowsky}'s conducting classes at the Vienna Academy of Music.

In 1958, he made his conducting debut in Trieste, and won the Koussevitzky} Competition at Tanglewood. This led to his engagement in several provincial opera houses and orchestras, as well as a teaching position at Parma Conservatory. After winning the 1963 Dimitri Mitropoulos} Prize, he was awarded a five-month position on the staff of the New York Philharmonic}, with which he made his American professional debut on April 7, 1963. The year 1965 marked his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic} at the Salzburg Festival}, but more so for his return to his hometown of Milan to conduct at La Scala}. He would conduct there again in 1967, become the company's resident director in 1968, and be named music director in 1971.

Abbado} was credited with raising the performing standards at La Scala}, and for broadening its repertory. He also organized its orchestral players into the Orchestra della Scala}, whose performances of works by such composers as Schoenberg}, Nono}, Ligeti}, Stockhausen}, and Berio} brought Abbado} special acclaim as an interpreter of modern works.

In 1971, he was appointed principal conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic}. Soon after, he formed a relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra}, of which he became principal conductor in 1979, and finally music director, a post he retained until 1988. Other activities during this period included the founding of the European Community Youth Orchestra}, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe}, and the Gustav Mahler Youth Chamber Orchestra}.

For the period 1982-1986, Abbado} served as principal guest conductor at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra}, after which he was appointed music director of the Vienna State Opera}. The Viennese further honored him by appointing him general music director of the city. During his tenure, he founded (1988) the Wien Modern} music festival, which has now grown to encompass all forms of contemporary art.

Abbado} succeeded Herbert von Karajan} as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic} in 1989. In 1991, he relinquished his position at the Vienna State Opera}, but he has maintained a presence in the city by founding the annual Vienna prize for young composers. In 1994, he succeeded to another post once held by Karajan}, namely the directorship of the Salzburg Easter Festival}.

Abbado} is an exciting conductor who relishes the beauty of tone. His extensive discography includes the complete symphonic works of Mahler}, Schubert}, Ravel}, Tchaikovsky}, Mendelssohn}, and Beethoven}, and dozens of other recordings. ~ Joseph Stevenson, All Music Guide

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