Conducting the future
Claudio Abbado between utopia and reality


3 February 2024  9.30 – 18
Auditorium Parco della Musica Ennio Morricone – Sala Petrassi
free entrance

on the tenth anniversary of his death,
a day dedicated to the great musician with previously unseen video contributions, testimonials and stories

Daniele Abbado, Ramzi Aburedwan, Eraldo Affinati, Sandro Cappelletto, Michele dall’Ongaro, Pietro del Soldà, Roberta De Monticelli, Angelo Foletto, Maria Majno, Marco Motta, Francesca Nesler, Nigel Osborne, Antonio Pappano, Armando Punzo, Andrea Zietzschmann

Ten years after the death of Claudio Abbado (Milan, 26 June 1933 – Bologna, 20 January 2014) and bearing witness to his long relationship with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Institution is commemorating the Milanese Maestro with a conference entitled “Conducting the future. Claudio Abbado between utopia and reality” which will be held on Saturday, the 3rd of February at 9.30 a.m. in Sala Petrassi (Auditorium Parco della Musica – Rome). The conference is the concluding stage of a project – promoted by the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Ceclia and the Fondazione Abbado – which saw the participation in 2023 of musicians and music historians, philosophers and teachers, along with personalities active in the field of music education, environmental protection, of music understood as a form of inclusion and aid in situations of discomfort and pain.

One of the best-loved and most celebrated conductors of the last fifty years, Claudio Abbado served as the Musical Director of La Scala in Milan, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Staatsoper of Vienna and the London Symphony Orchestra. He founded youth orchestras, revived the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and was committed to supporting the network of children’s and youth orchestras created in Venezuela by José Antonio Abreu. He made his debut at Santa Cecilia on 10 June 1961 and was elected to the Academy in September 1978. In June 2019, five years after his death, the Auditorium Parco della Musica – designed by Renzo Piano – named the hanging gardens after the great Maestro. Moreover, a precious baton donated to the Academy by the Abbado family is kept at MUSA, the Academy’s Museum of Musical Instruments.


In collaboration with

Università degli studi di Roma La Sapienza
Università degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata
Università degli studi Roma Tre
Università Luiss Guido Carli

The project

The topics tackled during the various stages of the project brought to light not only his work as an interpreter and musician but also his ethical legacy, as alive today as ever, and his role as an active witness of the times. Indeed, Abbado completely embodied the figure of the project artist, as distinct from that of an exclusively performance artist. Music, therefore, not only as a form of reflection or entertainment or a product of the culture industry but as an instrument of change, a commitment to the transformation of society through many series of interventions, linked to music and other topics, such as the education of young people, concern for the most urgent questions concerning the environment and ecology, openness to experimentation, the broadening of the musical offer to new audiences, often marginalised by the traditional access channels, the training of international youth orchestras, the commitment to new music.

During the conference on the 3rd of February, the results will be presented of the study conducted in 2023 on the repercussions of Claudio Abbado’s action in the recent present, with the aim of finding new answers to topical questions: what can music, art and culture do today to prepare, imagine and build the change? The study was the outcome of a meeting between various personalities operating in the four realities dear to Abbado: music education, art and care, art and the environment, building bridges. These subjects will be discussed by the President-Superintendent of the Accademia Michele dall’Ongaro, Sir Antonio Pappano, Daniele Abbado, Sandro Cappelletto, Ramzi Aburedwan, Nigel Osborne, Eraldo Affinati, Maria Majno, Angelo Foletto, Armando Punzo, Roberta De Monticelli. The conference will be coordinated by Pietro Del Soldà.

Abbado on video and radio

The conference of Saturday, the 3rd of February, which it will be possible to view in direct streaming, will include the documentary, “Claudio Abbado. Project Artist” (directed and edited by Luca Scarzella), produced by the Fondazione Claudio Abbado in collaboration with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia from an idea by Daniele Abbado and Michele dall’Ongaro, which will include interviews with personalities like Cesare Mazzonis, Angelo Foletto, Michel Haefliger, Renzo Piano, Daniel Barenboim and Gustavo Dudamel, who accompanied, as friends or collaborators, the artistic and human story of the Milanese conductor. The documentary was made with the collaboration of Teche Rai, the Gianni Berengo Gardin Archive, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala Foundation, the Milano Musica-Associazione for contemporary music, and the RPBW–Renzo Piano Building Workshop Architects.

Commemorating the figure of Claudio Abbado will not end there. Indeed, starting from the 15th of February, RAI Cultura will broadcast a weekly special, “Abbado project artist” (directed by Roberto Giannarelli and edited by Francesca Nesler): four 30-minute episodes, each dedicated to the study days held at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia on the 21st of October, which saw the participation, among others, of the pianist Alexander Lonquich and the musicologist and journalist Sandro Cappelletto.

In addition. RAI – Radio 3 will devote a daily slot to Abbado with music and interviews within the Radio 3 Suite programme (from Monday the 15th to Saturday the 20th) marking the tenth anniversary of the Maestro’s death.

The conference proceedings will be included in a book edited by Sandro Cappelletto and published by Il Saggiatore publishing house.

Verdi's Requiem in memory of Abbado

The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia will also dedicate concerts to the memory of Claudio Abbado on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of February (Auditorium Parco della Musica, Sala Santa Cecilia), when the Orchestra and Choir of Santa Cecilia, conducted by Sir Anthony Pappano, will perform Verdi’s Messa da Requiem. The soloists will be Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha (soprano), Elina Garança (mezzo-soprano), SeokJong Baek (tenor) and Giorgi Manoshvili (bass).