Roberto Abbado, awarded the prestigious “Premio Abbiati” by the Italian Music Critics Association for his “accomplished interpretative maturity, the extent and the peculiarity of a repertoire where he has offered remarkable results through an intense season”, is Musical Director of Parma’s Festival Verdi. He studied orchestra conducting under Franco Ferrara at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice and at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where he was invited – the only student in the history of the Academy – to lead the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia. He made his debut in the United States in 1991 in New York conducting the St. Luke’s Orchestra. Since then he has returned regularly to the US to lead the Symphonic Orchestras of the cities of Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, San Francisco, as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra – of which he is one of the “Artistic Partners” – working with soloists like Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Nigel Kennedy, Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Vadim Repin, Sarah Chang, Yefim Bronfman, Mitsuko Uchida, Alfred Brendel, Radu Lupu, André Watts, Andras Schiff, Lang-Lang, and Katia and Marielle Labèque.
He was Musical Director of the Münchner Rundfunkorchester from 1991 to 1998, and of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia from 2015 to 2019. He has worked with many ensembles, including Amsterdam’s Concertgebouworkest, the Wiener Symphoniker, the Orchestre national de France, the Orchestre de Paris, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Gewandhausorchester and the MDR-Sinfonieorchester (Leipzig), the NDR Sinfonieorchester (Hamburg), the Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester (Stockholm), the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia, the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai, the Filarmonica della Scala, the Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Taipei Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid.
Roberto Abbado has conducted numerous world premieres and new opera productions, including Fedora and Ernani at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York; I vespri siciliani at the Wiener Staatsoper; La Gioconda, Lucia di Lammermoor, La donna del lago, and the world premiere of Fabio Vacchi’s Teneke at La Scala; L’amour des trois oranges, Aida and La traviata at the Bayerische Staatsoper; Le Comte Ory, Attila, I Lombardi alla prima crociata, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Henze’s Phaedra – at its Italian premiere – and Anna Bolena at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; Don Giovanni at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; Simon Boccanegraand La clemenza di Tito at the Teatro Regio of Turin; La donna del lago at the Opéra Garnier in Paris; Ermione, Zelmira, and Mosè in Egitto at the Rossini Opera Festival; the Italian premiere of Marschner’s Der Vampyr at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, and more recently the world premiere of Arianna, Fedra e Didone at the Festival di Spoleto, Le Trouvère and Luisa Miller at the Festival Verdi in Parma.
A passionate interpreter of contemporary music, Abbado’s repertoire includes composers like Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna, Goffredo Petrassi, Sylvano Bussotti, Niccolò Castiglioni, Azio Corghi, Ivan Fedele, Luca Francesconi, Giorgio Battistelli, Michele dall’Ongaro, Giacomo Manzoni, Salvatore Sciarrino, Fabio Vacchi, Pascal Dusapin, Henri Dutilleux, Olivier Messiaen, Alfred Schnittke, Hans Werner Henze, Helmut Lachenmann, John Adams, Ned Rorem, Christopher Rouse, Steven Stucky, Charles Wuorinen and Silvia Colasanti.