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The Filarmonica della Scala was founded in 1982 by Claudio Abbado and musicians of the Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala with the objective of performing the symphonic repertoire. During its first years, the ensemble enjoyed a close relationship with Carlo Maria Giulini, who conducted more than 90 concerts. From 1987 to 2005, Riccardo Muti served as music director, and Riccardo Chailly has held the leadership role since 2015. The Filarmonica della Scala has worked with the most-acclaimed conductors, initially with such maestri as Leonard Bernstein, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, and Georges Prêtre, and, in recent years, with Daniel Barenboim, Daniel Harding, Daniele Gatti, and Valery Gergiev. Along with the classics of the symphonic literature, the orchestra also plays contemporary music and commissions new works each season; composers have included Giorgio Battistelli, Pascal Dusapin, Peter Eötvös, Salvatore Sciarrino, and Fabio Vacchi. The musicians have toured across the United States and to Asia and the major European music centers; on their most-recent tour, at the beginning of 2019, the orchestra traveled with Chailly to Madrid, Paris, Dortmund, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, and Modena, and in June they will perform at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. Since 2013 the Filarmonica della Scala has been presenting an annual “concerto per Milano” at the city’s Cathedral Square for an audience of more than 40,000 people. Its educational project “Sound, Music!” is aimed specifically at primary-school students. The orchestra also regularly offers public rehearsals and charity benefit concerts. Numerous CDs and DVDs document its work, including the albums Viva Verdi and Overtures, Preludes & Intermezzi with Chailly. Allianz supports the Filarmonica della Scala’s 2018-19 concert season. All of its activities are underwritten by UniCredit as the Main Sponsor.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 5 September 1997 in a program of works by Pergolesi, Busoni, and Respighi led by Riccardo Muti.