Giuseppe Sinopoli In-depth Biography
Conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli} was one of the world's great conducting stars. He gave powerful, psychologically penetrating, even expressionist, performances that were often highly controversial. At the age of 12, Sinopoli} studied harmony and organ at Messina, then harmony and counterpoint} at the Venice Conservatory (1965-1967). At the insistence of his father he simultaneously studied medicine. From 1969 to 1973, he attended the Accademia Musicale Chigiana} in Siena, studying under Franco Donatoni}. He graduated with his doctorate of medicine in psychiatry and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Padua} in 1972. His psychiatry dissertation was on the physiology of the areas of the brain concerned with creating the sensations of sound.
After a period as Donatoni}'s assistant, Sinopoli} was appointed to the faculty of the Venice Conservatory} as Professor for Contemporary} and Electronic Music}. In that year he also took up conducting studies with Hans Swarowsky} in Vienna. In 1975 he founded the Bruno Maderna Ensemble}, an avant-garde} music group, while continuing to teach and compose.
He began to make a reputation as a composer. His work, typically, was intense and followed the trend toward serial music} that prevailed at the time. He received several major commissions. His largest work was an opera} named Lou Salomé}, based on the life of a nineteenth century literary figure. It was premiered at the Bavarian State Opera} in Munich in 1981.
Meanwhile, his work leading the Bruno Maderna Ensemble} had been noticed. He began receiving requests to conduct. In 1976 and 1977, respectively, he led highly acclaimed performances of the Verdi} operas} Aïda} and Macbeth} in Venice, then the same composer's Macbeth} at the Deutsche Oper Berlin} and Atilla} at the Vienna State Opera}. Sinopoli}'s London operatic debut was Puccini}'s Manon Lescaut} at Covent Garden} (1983) and his New York debut was at the Metropolitan} with Puccini}'s Tosca} (1985). As an operatic conductor, he performed frequently at the Bayreuth Festival}, La Scala}, and other major opera} houses. He is particularly known for his electrifying performances of the Richard Strauss} operas} Salome} and Elektra}.
In addition to Bayreuth, Sinopoli} was also a frequent guest at the Salzburg, Lucerne and Schlewsig-Holstein Music Festivals. From 1990 until his death, Sinopoli} was Director of the Taormina Arte Festival} in Sicily. He was appointed principal conductor of the Orchestra dell'Accademia di Santa Cecilia} in Rome (serving there through 1987) and in 1984 became the principal conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra} in London, remaining through 1994. In 1987, his position was upgraded to that of music director of the Philharmonia}, which he held until 1994. From 1992 to 2001Sinopoli was principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden}.
Giuseppe Sinopoli} recorded exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon}. His set of Maderna} works won the Grand Prix International du Disque} and Premio della Critica Discografia Italiana} in 1981. His Manon Lescaut} recording won both those prizes in addition to the International Record Critics Award} in 1985. Further prizes were a Gramophone Award} in 1987 for La forza del destino}, the Tokyo Record Academy Prize} and Stella d'Oro} for Madama Butterfly}, three prizes for Tannhäuser}, and three for Tosca}. Sinopoli}'s most honored recording was Strauss}' Salome}, which won the Orphee d'Or}, the Stella d'Argento}, the Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Academie du Disque}, and the Edison Award}. In 1994, the Italian government awarded Sinopoli} its highest award, the Gran Croce al Merito}, for his contribution to arts and music. Giuseppe Sinopoli} died at the Deutsche Oper Berlin of a heart attack while conducting the third act of Aïda}. ~ Joseph Stevenson, All Music Guide