The La Scala Philharmonic offers an expanded repertoire to audiences of La Scala to accompany the theater's rich operatic tradition.
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La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra Biography

by Keith Finke

The La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra (Filarmonica della Scala) was created by Claudio Abbado to offer a broader repertoire to audiences of the theater. The orchestra has been led by many of the world's top conductors and has toured regularly to major cities in Europe and beyond.

Abbado founded and led the La Scala Philharmonic in its first concert on January 25, 1982. The goal of the Philharmonic was to expand the theater's symphonic repertoire to augment its rich operatic tradition. Carlo Maria Giulini led the orchestra in many concerts over the next five years and on its first international tour. In 1987, Riccardo Muti was named principal conductor; he remained in this role until 2005. Under Muti, the La Scala Philharmonic became regular guests at festivals and prestigious concert halls across Europe, Russia, and Japan. Throughout its history, the orchestra has been led by numerous world-class guest conductors, including Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Bernstein, and Seiji Ozawa, among many others. In 2007, Daniel Barenboim led La Scala in its first tour to the U.S., and the following year, Myung-Whun Chung led the orchestra's debut tour of China. Barenboim was the music director of La Scala from 2007-2014, and he was succeeded by Riccardo Chailly, in 2015.

The La Scala Philharmonic has recorded for several labels, including Sony, Decca, and Deutsche Grammophon. Among its recordings are the 2013 Decca album Viva Verdi, conducted by Chailly, and several 2020 releases including Cherubini Discoveries, under Chailly, on Decca, and Georges PrĂȘtre's Last Concert at la Scala, on Deutsche Grammophon.

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