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Claudio Abbado (1933-2014) studied conducting, piano, and composition at the conservatory of his native Milan. After obtaining his degree, he continued his education with Hans Swarowsky at the Vienna Music Academy. In 1958 he won the Koussevitzky Prize in Tanglewood and in 1963 took first prize at the Mitropoulos Competition in New York, which earned him the position of assistant to Leonard Bernstein. In 1965 Herbert von Karajan invited Abbado to the Salzburg Festival, where he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic; the following year he made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic. From 1968 to 1986 Abbado was Music Director of La Scala in Milan, where he established his reputation as an innovator keen to promote contemporary music and director’s theater as well as to open up the venue to a more-diverse audience. During this period Abbado’s international career also developed. He was Chief Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1988 and Music Director of the Vienna Staatsoper for five years starting in 1986; in 1989 he was appointed by the Berlin Philharmonic to serve as its head and, in 1994, entrusted by the orchestra with leadership of the Salzburg Easter Festival. After leaving Berlin in 2002, Abbado founded the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2013. The encouragement of young musical talent is likewise a cause close to Abbado’s heart. In 1978 he was one of the founders of the European Community Youth Orchestra and later helped establish the Chamber Orchestra of Europe; in 1986 he launched the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and, in 2004, the Orchestra Mozart in Bologna. Among the numerous distinctions Claudio Abbado has garnered are the Siemens Music Prize (1994) and the Praemium Imperiale (2003). In 2008 he was named an honorary citizen of Bologna.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 20 August 1966 with the Swiss Festival Orchestra in works by Hindemith, Sibelius, and Mendelssohn. Last appearance on 26 August 2013 with the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA in works by Schubert and Bruckner.