Roberto Abbado was born into a musical family: his grandfather was a famous violin pedagogue, his father was director of the Milan Conservatory, and his uncle is conductor Claudio Abbado. Mr. Abbado studied with Franco Ferrara at Venice’s La Fenice and Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, where he was the only student in the Accademia’s history to be invited to conduct the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia. Previously chief conductor of the Munich Radio Orchestra (1991-98), Mr. Abbado is currently an Artistic Partner with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, with whom he appears regularly. In 2009 Mr. Abbado was honored with the Franco Abbiati Award of the National Association of Italian Music Critics as Conductor of the Year. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1999.
Mr. Abbado began the 2012-13 season leading Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Bari’s Teatro Petruzzelli, followed by Ponchielli’s La Gioconda at Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera. He will celebrate the centenary of Verdi’s birth with a production of Macbeth at Teatro Comunale in Bologna. In addition, Mr. Abbado conducts the orchestras of Cincinnati and Atlanta and he continues his collaboration with the Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI in Torino and the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna. He has also been invited by the Lutosławski Festival in Warsaw to conduct a concert of works by Britten, Lutosławski, and Debussy.
Mr. Abbado has made several recordings for BMG (RCA Red Seal) including award-winning performances of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi and Rossini’s Tancredi, as well as discs of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Puccini’s Turandot, ballet music from Verdi operas, the two Liszt piano concertos with Gerhard Oppitz, a collection of arias with tenor Ben Heppner, and a CD of opera scenes with soprano Carol Vaness. For Decca he has recorded aria albums with soprano Mirella Freni and tenor Juan Diego Flórez. His other recordings include Bel Canto with mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča on Deutsche Grammophon and the world premiere recordings of two works by Luca Francesconi for the Stradivarius Label. On DVD, Mr. Abbado can be seen leading Giordani’s Fedora for Deutsche Grammophon, Rossini’s Ermione for Dynamic, and on Hardy Classic Video, the 2008 New Year Concert from the Teatro La Fenice in Venice.