Adventurous, risk-taking and always stimulating, Riccardo Chailly has taken his modernist credentials and solid Italian musical grounding to the heart of the symphony orchestra tradition, most notably at the hallowed Concertgebouw and Leipzig Gewandhaus. An enthusiastic champion of 20th-century music from Zemlinsky to Berio, he did not hesitate to programme contemporary Italian music for his Concertgebouw début, and has recorded the complete works of the pioneering Varèse. He has also brought a freshness of thought to the symphonies of Mahler and Bruckner, and a powerful sense of musical conviction to Italian operas, including Puccini’s Tosca, and gave the first performance of the new completion by Berio of Turandot.
1973: After studying with his father, composer Luciano Chailly, and at the Conservatories of Perugia, Rome and Milan, Chailly becomes assistant conductor to Claudio Abbado at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
1978: Conducting début (La Scala).
1984: Opens the Salzburg Festival, and guests at the Salzburg Easter Festival as well as the Lucerne International Music Festival.
1982–89: Chief Conductor of the Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
1983–86: Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
1986–93: Music Director of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna.
1988–2004: Chief Conductor of the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Amsterdam.
1994–98: Is awarded the title of “Grande Ufficiale della Repubblica Italia”, becomes an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London and is made “Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion” in the Netherlands and “Cavaliere di Gran Croce” in Italy.
1998: The magazines Diapason and Gramophone both name him “Artist of the Year”.
1999–2005: Conducts the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi.
2003: His complete recording of the Bruckner symphonies is released.
2005: His complete recording of the Mahler symphonies is released; he takes over the dual function of Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus and General Music Director of the Leipzig Opera.
2006: Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Martha Argerich and Symphony n. 4
2007 : Brahms’ Piano Concertos with Nelson Freire (Awards : Classic FM Gramophone Award, Diapason d’or, Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros, Choc du Monde de la musique, and nomination at the Grammy Awards) ;
Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Janine Jansen (Echo-Prei).
2008: Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony and Brahms’ Symphony n. 4
2010: Bach’sBrandenburg Concerto, St Matthew Passion and Christmas Oratorio
2011: Bach's Keyboard Concertos;
Gershwin's works for piano with Stefano Bollani;
Complete Beethoven Symphonies with the Gewandhaus Orchestra
Performs at the Bonn Beethovenfest
2012: Becomes an Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in Paris
Performs at the BBC Proms and at the Helsinki Festival
2013: Celebrates Verdi’s bicentenary year with the album Viva Verdi featuring the Filarmonica della Scala.
« What I really hate is settling into a routine. Music has to retain its spirit and soul, but also the possibility to surprise, to entertain and to be the subject of discussion, but never sterile repetition. »