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Claudio Abbado's Biography

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Early Life

Claudio Abbado was born in Milan on 26 June 1933.

He became one of the world's most acclaimed conductors.

Abbado studied composition, piano and conducting at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory at Milan Conservatory.


He won a conducting competition in America, and conducted in Vienna and La Scala (in 1960), but then decided to teach chamber music in Parma. After a few years, however, he was back conducting and took charge of the opera of La Scala from 1968 to 1986.

His other roles included running the London Symphony Orchestra from 1979 until 1988, being the conductor for the Vienna State Opera from 1986 to 1991, and being the chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic from 1989 to 2002.

In 2003, Claudio Abbado founded the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the Orchestra Mozart.

According to The Guardian: "He conducts everything he performs from memory. How does he learn these huge symphonies or operas? 'There comes a point where I know I have memorised a piece. But it's psychological as well. If I don't know a piece by memory, I don't know it well enough.'"

In January 2014, Claudio Abbado died aged 80, after a long illness.

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