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Sinopoli, Giuseppe

(November 2, 1946 - April 20, 2001)

Giuseppe Sinopoli was born in Venice in 1946.
He began to develop an interest in music at the age of 12. When he completed his secondary school studies he enrolled in the faculty of medicine at the University of Padua, continuing to study music at the same time at the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory in Venice. After obtaining a specialist degree in psychiatry in 1972 he went on with his studies in composition at Darmstadt under György Ligeti, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Bruno Maderna and later at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena under Franco Donatoni. He completed his studies in orchestral conducting under the guidance of Franco Ferrara and the Viennese conductor Hans Swarowsky.

Giuseppe Sinopoli’s activity as a composer spanned the decade that went from the beginning of the 70s to the beginning of the 80s. During this period he endeavoured to strike out on an innovative creative path that departed from the canons of contemporary structuralism. In 1974 he presented Klavierkonzert for piano, wind instruments, harp and celeste. This score would be revised by the composer up until 1979 and published by Ricordi in its definitive form in four movements. His most celebrated work, Lou Salomé, was premiered at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich in 1981. 

The composer’s activity as a conductor began in 1980 when he conducted the Deutsche Oper in Berlin in a production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth. In 1983 he succeeded Riccardo Muti as conductor of the New Philharmonic in London and later went on to conduct a series of the world’s most prestigious orchestras: the Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Wiener Philharmoniker, the Covent Garden, the Metropolitan, the New York Philharmonic and the Berliner Philharmoniker. 1985 was a fundamental year for Sinopoli: he was entrusted with the direction of Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the Bayreuth Festival. From 1990 on he was the principle director of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin and from 1992 of the Staatskapelle in Dresden. 1994 saw his debut at the Teatro alla Scala where he conducted Richard Strauss’s Elektra. In 2000 the Bayreuth Festival entrusted to him the direction of the entire cycle of The Ring.

He died in 2001 while directing Aida at the Deutsche Oper.
Since 2005 Taormina Arte has dedicated a festival to Giuseppe Sinopoli. It takes place every October.

Giuseppe Sinopoli