As Italian composer Claudio Abbado turns 80 today, it seems only fitting to look back and celebrate his achievements.
Abbado made his performance debut in 1960 at the Teatro alla Scala in his home Milan. He became Music Director there from 1968 to 1986, taking on the same post at the London Symphony Orchestra from 1983 to 1986. He conducted the Vienna Philharmonic for the first time in 1965 and later became director of the Vienna State Opera from 1986 to 1991.
In the past few years, Claudio Abbado has developed a strong working relationship with Accentus Music. Accentus was founded in 2010 and produces worldwide high profile concert and opera recordings as well as feature length documentaries and portraits. Abbado’s first production for Accentus was with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra in 2010 – their first joint audio-visual concert recording, featuring Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony and Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite.
On the subject of Abbado’s relationship with Mahler following the Mahler’s 9th Symphony release, Accentus Music said:
“. . . Abbado and his handpicked players of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL Orchestra take their acclaimed Mahler cycle to a new level with this performance of the most complex and compelling of the symphonies. Abbado bring all his renowned clarity of vision and the experience of a lifetime to this contradictory music – half valedictory, half life-affirming – and his “orchestra of soloists”, including some of the leading instrumentalist of our time, revels in the transparent texts and virtuosity of Mahler’s last completed symphony”.
A notable extra on the Mahler 9 DVD and Blu-Ray was the additional perspective of the “Conductor Camera”, which offers the option to experience Abbado from the orchestra’s perspective, showing the maestro’s hard work and enthusiasm throughout the process.
Last year, Accentus won the 2012 Gramophone Award for DVD performance for their production of Bruckner’s Symphony No.5; this critically acclaimed production was performed by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and conducted by Abbado. With great reviews from Gramophone as well as Classical Music Magazine (who urged readers to ‘simply buy it, mortgaging the cat if need be’) it is no surprise that this production has also won a renowned Diapason d’Or award.
Abbado has contributed greatly to the LUCERNE FESTIVAL as well as Accentus Music’s productions.