The eminent Italian conductor, Carlo Maria Giulini, studied viola and composition at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and played under the guidance of Otto Klemperer and Bruno Walter. Later he decided to become a conductor and studied under Bernadino Molinari.
From 1946 Carlo Maria Giulini conducted for the RAI, and he took over its Symphony Orchestra in Milan when it was founded in 1950. In 1948 he conducted his first opera, La Traviata by Verdi. In 1951 he got to know Arturo Toscanini; a year later he made his debut at the Scala with La Vida breve by de Falla. He worked at Covent Garden in London with Lucchino Visconti Don Carlos and with Franco Zeffirelli Falstaff (both by Verdi). In 1955 he conducted in the USA (Chicago) for the first time, and in 1960 he went on a major tour of Japan. In 1963 he returned to the Scala and conducted Don Giovanni by Mozart. In 1969, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra appointed him as its principal guest conductor; in 1973 he became the director of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (until 1976). From 1978 to 1984 he was the successor to Zubin Mehta as the musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and he made several tours of Europe with this orchestra.
As a specialist for the Italian opera, Carlo Maria Giulini spent at least six months in each year in his home in spite of his international career. For the last few years he has limited himself to concerts and worked with just a few orchestras (Orchestre de Paris, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra).
Carlo Maria Giulini was responsible for the first performance of works by the following composers: Boris Blacher's Poème (1976), Gottfried von Einem's An die Nachgeborenen (1975), Giorgio Federico Ghedini's Concerto dea'albatro (1945), Ezra Ladermann's Symphony No. 4(1981), Goffredo Petrassi's Ottavo concerto (1972), Mario Zafred's Symphony No. 3(1950).