Carlo Maria Giulini
1914 – 2005
Italian born Giulini began his career as a violinist in the Accademia Nazionale di Santa - Cecilia's orchestra. As a violinist he played under notable maestros such as Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Richard Strauss,Victor de Sabata, Fritz Reiner, Pierre Monteux, Igor Stravinsky, and Otto Klemperer.
In 1940 he won a conducting competition but his career was interrupted by the war years. An avowed pacifist he refused to fight with the fascists and also went underground to escape fighting the last of the Nazi occupation. Posters carrying his face were distributed around Rome demanding he be shot on sight.
At the end of the war he worked with the Chamber Orchestra of Rome and in 1950 in Bergamo he conducted performances of La Traviata, with Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi alternating the title role which brought him to the attention of Arturo Toscanini.
Toscanini recommended him to take up the post of conducting at La Scala when De Sabata resigned due to health issues. Despite being highly acclaimed, he resigned the post after members of the audience jeered Maria Callas during a run of operas from February, 16 to April 27, 1956.
He enjoyed a long association (23 years) with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and was its Principal Guest Conductor from 1969 to 1978. In 1956, he began his association with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London (and the Royal Opera House) and in 1958, he conducted a highly acclaimed production of Verdi's Don Carlos at Covent Garden.
In the years that followed he was in great demand as a guest conductor of leading orchestras around the world, and made numerous recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London (and other orchestras) that were very well received.
Giulini abandoned opera for some years but returned to it in 1982 conducting an acclaimed production of Verdi's Falstaff with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Giulini's most notable opera recordings include the 1959 recordings of Mozart's “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Don Giovanni” and his 1955 recording of “La Traviata” with Maria Callas.
He also made recordings of Verdi's Requiem and many other great classical pieces such as Debussy's “La Mer” and Mussorgsky's “Pictures at an Exhibition”.
His live recording of Britten's War Requiem made in the Royal Albert Hall in 1969 won a Gramophone Award.
He died in Brescia, Italy at age 91 in 2005.