The Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi ((Symphony Orchestra of Milan Giuseppe Verdi)), founded in 1993 by Vladimir Delman and Marcello Abbado, has been regarded in these last years as one of the Italian leading orchestras performing a repertoire which ranges from J.S. Bach to the main symphonic composers of 19th-century to contemporary music. The season's program includes each year more than thirty symphonic classic concerts often combined with more unusual compositions as well as some concert series, as for example, “Crescendo in Musica” devoted to children and teen-agers.
Riccardo Chailly, now Conductor Laureate, has been the Musical Director of the orchestra from 1999 to 2005. Starting from the Season 2008-2009 Wayne Marshall and Helmuth Rilling are Principal Guest Conductors. Rudolf Barshai, who was very close to the Orchestra for many years, has been appointed Conductor Emeritus from the Season 2006-2007, position hold by Carlo Maria Giulini until his death. The horn player Radovan Vlatkovic and the pianist Simone Pedroni have been nominated Artists in Residence. From Season 2009-2010 Xian Zhang has been appointed Music Director (the first woman to be named music director of an Italian symphony orchestra) and Ruben Jais Conductor in Residence.
In 1999 the orchestra made the opening of its own new orchestra hall, the Auditorium di Milano, with Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 under the conduction of Riccardo Chailly. The Auditorium is considered one of the best concert halls in Italy for its acoustic, technical and attractive features.
The Coro Sinfonico di Milano Giuseppe Verdi was born in Autumn 1998 under the musical direction of Romano Gandolfi, excellent artist who worked with the world 's top conductors . It's composed by one hundred singers who can perform a wide range of works, including opera, symphonic, chamber and polyphonic music, from the Baroque to the 20th-century. Currently M° Erina Gambarini is the Choirmaster.
Some recurring schedules articulate the musical activity of the orchestra: the performance of the complete G. Mahler Symphonies, the annual appointment with the great Passions by J.S. Bach in occasion of the Easter feasts as well as L.v. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on New Year's Eve.
The season 2010-2011 foresees, in addition to the traditional symphony programs, other cycles: review “Crescendo in Musica” (10 appointments with the music of 17th and 18th Century, conducted by Ruben Jais), the review conducted by Giuseppe Grazioli dedicated to Nino Rota La leggerezza dell’ascolto (10 appointments for the centenary of the birth of one the great representatives of the Italian music of the 20th century , in collaboration with Fondazione Giorgio Cini) and the “Chamber Season” (8 concerts to present some musicians who have been distinguishing themselves in Italy and in the world by their talent and enthusiasm) in collaboration with Universal Music Group - Classics and Jazz Italian Division.
The Orchestra has been conducted among the others by Riccardo Chailly, Georges Prêtre, Riccardo Muti, Valery Gergiev, Rudolf Barshai, Claus Peter Flor, Christopher Hogwood, Helmuth Rilling, Peter Maag, Marko Letonja, Daniele Gatti, Roberto Abbado, Ivor Bolton, Kazushi Ono, Vladimir Jurowski, Yakov Kreizberg, Ulf Schirmer, Eiji Oue, Herbert Blomstedt, Krzysztof Penderecki, Leonard Slatkin, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Wayne Marshall, Lü Jia, Sir Neville Marriner, James Gaffigan, Pietari Inkinen, Ion Marin, Paul Daniel, Aldo Ceccato.
The Orchestra played with soloists such as Martha Argerich, Mstislav Rostropovic, Vadim Repin, Hilary Hahn, Lynn Harrell, Viktoria Mullova, Sarah Chang, Midori, Han-Na Chang, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Nelson Freire, Salvatore Accardo, Mario Brunello, Alexander Toradze, Radovan Vlatkovic, Gianluca Cascioli, Domenico Nordio, Yefim Bronfman, Massimo Quarta, Enrico Dindo, Simone Pedroni, Natasha Korsakova, Yuri Bashmet, Roberto Cominati, Emanuele Arciuli, Yura Lee, Olli Mustonen, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Benedetto Lupo.
In 2002 the Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro Sinfonico di Milano Giuseppe Verdi Foundation was established, joined by Banca Popolare di Milano, RAS, the Region of Lombardia, the City of Milan, the Chamber of Commerce of Milan, the Province of Milan and Pirelli RE, whose aim is to guarantee the tradition which has been characterizing the Orchestra since its foundation in 1993: the presence of a multitude of members who support the Orchestra and confer its special identity.
In addition to the rich symphonic season in its hall in Milan , the Orchestra is often invited to play in prestigious halls in Italy and abroad. In 2002, the Orchestra was resident orchestra at the “Festival dei Due Mondi” in Spoleto and had its first European tour in France, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland. In 2003, under the conduction of Oleg Caetani, the Orchestra played in Chile, Argentina and Brazil as well as, in October, in the most prestigious concert halls Japanese under the conduction of Riccardo Chailly and the participation of Martha Argerich and laVerdi Choir directed by Roman o Gandolfi. In January 2004 the Orchestra, conducted by Riccardo Chailly, debuted at the Canary Islands Festival and in August it was engaged as resident orchestra at the “Festival delle Nazioni” in Città di Castello. In January 2005 the Orchestra, under the baton of Eiji Oue and with the participation of the violinist Hilary Hahn, made a tour in Germany and France; in May it played in several European cities including Frankfurt, Vienna and Budapest, conducted by Riccardo Chailly, and debuted at the 68th edition of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
In autumn 2006, for the first time in Italy laVerdi made a tour throughout the national territory touching 11 cities in about 20 days with Marko Letonja and with the participation of pianist Benedetto Lupo. On April 24, 2008 the Orchestra and Chorus of la Verdi performed a concert in Sala Nervi (Vatican) for Pope Benedetto XVI and the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano, concert offered by the President himself on the occasion of the III anniversary of Benedetto XVI's Pontificate. On December 2008 Orchestra and Chorus were invited in Baku, Azerbaijan, at the II Mstislav Rostropovich International Festival. Conducted by Eugene Kohn, they participated to the"World Stars" Opera Gala playing Verdi's Messa da requiem as well as Puccini, Mascagni, Georges Bizet and Verdi's Arias.
On April 2009 laVerdi, conducted by the new Musical Director Xian Zhang, performed again the concert offered by the President Giorgio Napolitano in Sala Nervi (Vaticano) to celebrate the IV anniversary of Benedetto XVI's Pontificate. In the same month laVerdi, as part of an exchange with the Symphonic Orchestra of Euskadi (Basque Countries), went on tour in Bilbao, San Sebastian, Victoria, Pamplona under the baton of Oleg Caetani and with the pianist Simone Pedroni. On June and July 2009 la Verdi was invited to perform in a series of concerts for the 52nd “Festival dei due mondi” in Spoleto: the official opening concert with music by Giancarlo Menotti (conducted by James Conlon); Puccini's Gianni Schicchi conducted by James Conlon and directed by Woody Allen; the final concert with Gershwin music (pianist and conductor Wayne Marshall).
During the season 2009-2010 the Orchestra was on two important tournée: the first, at the end of September, in the principal theatres of Switzerland, under the conduction of M° Roberto Abbado; the second, between October and November, the Orchestra Verdi performed in nine Italian regions 16 concerts conducted by M° Wayne Marshall with a great success of public and critics. On April 4, 2010, in occasion of the 65th anniversary of Liberation and of the 20th anniversary of Luigi Nono's death, laVerdi conducted by Francesco Maria Colombo performed Luigi Nono's Il Canto Sospeso at Auditorium di Milano, to the presence of the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano. On June and July 2010 the Orchestra Verdi took part at the 53rd Festival dei Due Mondi di Spoleto performing in the opera Gogo no eiko by Hans Werner Henze, conductor Johannes Debus (director Giorgio Ferrara) with a great success from the critics, and in the closing concert in Piazza del Duomo, conducted by the young Maestro Diego Matheuz.
The Orchestra has developed an intense recording activity (more than 25 CD’s) under the following labels: Decca, Emi, RCA, DG, ARTS. Its first recording, “Verdi Heroines”, with Angela Gheorghiu won in 2000 the Gramophone Award, the Classic FM People's Choice and the Choc de l'Année. The CD of Verdi's “Messa Solenne”, with the Chorus conducted by Romano Gandolfi, was nominated for the 2001 Gramophone Awards while the CD “Rossini's Arias” with Juan Diego Florez, with whom the orchestra recorded also “Una furtiva lacrima”, had a large success of audience. The orchestra recorded a CD of Sacred Songs with Plácido Domingo for Deutsche Grammophon and other three CD’s with rarities by Italian composers: “Rossini Discoveries”, “Verdi Discoveries” and, in 2004, “Puccini Discoveries”, conducted by Riccardo Chailly, for Decca. In April 2005 a CD with orchestral transcriptions by Luciano Berio, conducted by Riccardo Chailly, was published by Decca; in the autumn 2006, for the 100th anniversary of Dmitrij Sostakovic's birth the “Complete Symphonies”, conducted by Oleg Caetani, were published by Arts (“10/10 Highest Rating - Classics Today - fff Télérama - CD of the month by Amadeus) as well as the “Shostakovich Chamber Symphonies”, conducted by Rudolf Barshai, for Brilliant Classics. In 2008 Orchestra Verdi and Coro recorded the CD “Cielo e Mar” for Deutsche Grammophon with Rolando Villazón and the baton of Daniele Callegari; Andrea Chénier of Umberto Giordano with the participation of Daniela Dessì, Fabio Armiliato, Carlo Guelfi, conducted by Vjekoslav Sutej, for Universal Music and “Verdissimo arie” operas by Giuseppe Verdi, with the soprano Lucia Aliberti, conductor Oleg Caetani, for DEAG Classics, the CD “Incanto” with Andrea Bocelli, conductor Steven Mercurio, for Sugar Music label. In 2009 The “Mille e una notte”, music by Victor De Sabata, conductor Francesco Maria Colombo, was published by Universal Music; for Decca, The Verdi Tenor with Marcelo Álvarez, Direttore Daniel Oren. On February 1, 2010 the CD "Verismo Arias", edited by Decca, won the prestigious "Grammy Award” for best classical vocal performance. The American soprano Renée Fleming and tenor Jonas Kaufmann, with the Coro sinfonico di Milano Giuseppe Verdi prepared by Erina Gambarini and the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano G. Verdi conducted by Marco Armiliato, played pages of Italian composers of the early 20th century.