Giulini, Carlo Maria
Giulini, Carlo Maria
Giulini, Carlo Maria, eminent Italian conductor;b. Barletta, May 9, 1914. He began to study the violin as a boy; at 16 he entered the Conservatorio di Musica di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where he studied violin and viola with Remy Principe, composition with Alessandro Bustini, and conducting with Bernardino Molinari; also received instruction in conducting from Casella at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena. He then joined the Augusteo Orch. in Rome in the viola section. He was drafted into the Italian army during World War II, but went into hiding as a convinced anti-Fascist; after the liberation of Rome by the Allied troops in 1944, he was engaged to conduct the Augusteo Orch. in a special concert celebrating the occasion. He then became asst. conductor of the RAI Orch. in Rome, and was made its chief conductor in 1946. In 1950 he helped to organize the RAI Orch. in Milan; in 1952 he conducted at Milan’s La Scala as an assistant to Victor de Sabata; in 1954 he became principal conductor there; his performance of La Traviata, with Maria Callas in the title role, was particularly notable. In 1955 he conducted Verdi’s Falstaffat the Edinburgh Festival, earning great praise. On Nov. 3, 1955, he was a guest conductor with the Chicago Sym. Orch. and later was its principal guest conductor (1969-72); during its European tour of 1971, he was joint conductor with Sir Georg Solti. From 1973 to 1976 he was principal conductor of the Vienna Sym. Orch., and in 1975 he took it on a world tour. On Oct. 24, 1975, he led it at a televised concert from the United Nations in N.Y. In 1978 he succeeded Zubin Mehta as music director of the Los Angeles Phil., and succeeded in maintaining it at a zenith of orchestral brilliance until 1984. His conducting style embodies the best traditions of the Italian school as exemplified by Toscanini, but is free from explosive displays of temper. He is above all a Romantic conductor who can identify his musical Weltanschauung with the musical essence of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Bruckner, Verdi, and Mahler; he leads the classics with an almost abstract contemplation. In the music of the 20th century, he gives congenial interpretations of works by Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky; the expressionist school of composers lies outside of his deeply felt musicality, and he does not actively promote the experimental school of modern music. His behavior on the podium is free from self-assertive theatrics, and he treats the orch. as comrades-in-arms, associates in the cause of music, rather than subordinate performers of the task assigned to them. Yet his personal feeling for music is not disguised; often he closes his eyes in fervent self-absorption when conducting without score the great Classical and Romantic works.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire