Norman Lebrecht meets Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly, who discuss his career, the death of his father and the possibility of a future post with a major American orchestra.
In the first of this year's Lebrecht Interviews, Norman meets the Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly. For more than 30 years, Chailly has been one of Europe's most important conductors. The son of a well-known Italian composer and music administrator, his career has taken him from the opera house in Bologna to the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Berlin, the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, and most recently the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. Aged 57, Chailly specialises in the masterpieces of the symphonic repertoire and the summits of Italian opera. Yet some would say the Chailly story begs more questions than it answers. Although fluent in English, he's never held a major post in Britain or America; his moves have often been jagged and contentious, at odds with his calm and smiling persona. He talks to Norman about working with the likes of Pavarotti, Abbado and Karajan, his decision to leave Amsterdam (the first conductor ever to walk away from the Concertgebouw), the death of his father, and the possibility of a future post with a major American orchestra.