A Journey for Life : A Portrait of The Exceptional Conductor Riccardo Chailly

A documentary by Paul Smaczny

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Riccardo Chailly — Conductor

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Filarmonica della Scala

Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana

Program notes

This documentary’s motto is perhaps best summed up by its subject, Riccardo Chailly: There’s nothing I hate more than routine. Music must retain its spirit and its soul, but it must also maintain its ability to surprise and entertain us. It must provide us with a subject for discussion and never involve mere sterile repetition.

Legendary Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly was born into a family of musicians in Milan on February 20th, 1953, and received his first music lessons from his father, Luciano, one of the leading Italian composers of the 20th century. Riccardo Chailly was twenty when he made his professional debut as a conductor, and still a student when Claudio Abbado signed him up as his musical assistant at La Scala, Milan.

Within a short space of time he was launched on an impressive international career, conducting at the Vienna State Opera, the New York City Metropolitan Opera, and the London Covent Garden Royal Opera, and appearing with leading orchestras like the Berliner and Wiener Philharmoniker, the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.

Riccardo Chailly loves speed and enjoys taking risks both professionally and in his private life: until an accident in 1985 he was a keen motorcyclist, a passion he has now given up in favor of jet-skiing and paragliding. I can’t imagine a better way of preparing for Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony", he says, half-jokingly, than soaring through the air alone at a height of over 450 feet, with only the noise of the rushing wind in my ears.

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