Riccardo Chailly, current principal conductor at La Scala, Milan and musical director of the Gewandhaus Leipzig, has added the Lucerne Festival Orchestra to his prestigious roster of posts. An announcement was made this morning on the festival website, following speculation over who would take on the role of musical director after Claudio Abbado’s death in 2014.
It seems fitting that Chailly, 62, should follow after Abbado: Chailly was assistant to Abbado at La Scala in the 1970s, before expanding his career and repertoire outside of opera. Born in Milan in 1952 to a musical family, he studied at the conservatoires in Milan and Perugia and, in a career spanning five decades, he has conducted the majority of Europe’s leading orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Berlin Philhamonic.
In welcoming its new man at the top, the Lucerne Festival says that it hopes that Chailly will ‘lead the Lucerne Festival Orchestra into the future’. He has signed a five-year contract, and will conduct ‘four to five concerts’ each season, beginning with Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, the Symphony of a Thousand, on the opening night in 2016.
Riccardo Chailly is exclusively interviewed in the October issue of BBC Music Magazine, on sale on 26 August.