Orchestra Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia


Music Director: Sir Antonio Pappano

“It's a while since Italy could claim to have an orchestra that might genuinely compete with the best in Europe, but since Antonio Pappano took over at the Rome-based Accademia di Santa Cecilia in 2005, it has become a much more credible possibility.”
The Guardian

Rome’s award-winning Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is unanimously recognised as Italy’s finest symphonic orchestra and among the most eminent European orchestras today. The Orchestra is based at its vibrant home, the Auditorium Parco della Musica, designed by Renzo Piano, in Rome’s newest cultural quarter.

The Orchestra is at the heart of the Auditorium Parco della Musica, which hosts 2 million visitors per year. Its annual season comprises more than 600 events including 200 symphonic concerts in Sala Santa Cecilia, a chamber music season in Sala Sinopoli, summer concerts in its outdoor amphi-theatre, the Cavea, and an extensive educational programme for families. Each symphonic concert is given in three concerts to a combined audience of nearly 10,000. The Auditorium also houses Santa Cecilia’s extensive music archive the Bibliomediateca, which has made many rare manuscripts and all its recordings from the 1930s available online. Orchestra Orchestra’s annual budget is 36 million euros, of which 13 million euros comes from subsidy from the state (9millioni euros), Comune di Roma e Provincia di Lazio e Roma. It has 6,000 regular subscribers to the orchestra’s season of concerts in Rome.

As the first symphony orchestra in Italy, it is a rare example of an independent orchestra unattached to an opera house. Since its inaugural season in 1908 devised by Giuseppe Martucci, it has devoted itself to the symphonic repertoire working with some of the greatest practitioners and composers from Mahler to Abbado. Their recording of Mahler’s hypnotic Adagietto from his 5th Symphony for Visconti’s legendary film Death in Venice became a worldwide hit.

With its world-class Chorus, Santa Cecilia established itself in the 1950s as one of the leading orchestras with their many historic recordings of opera for Decca with Renata Tebaldi. Since opera conductor Sir Antonio Pappano took the helm as Music Director, they have continued this tradition making several award-winning recordings of operas and choral works, in addition to recordings of Mahler, Dvorak and Tchaikovsky.

The Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia has an impressive heritage. Since its creation in 1908 the Orchestra has collaborated with distinguished conductors and composers including Mahler, Debussy, Strauss, Stravinsky, Hindemith, Respighi, Berio, Stockhausen, Toscanini, Furtwangler, De Sabata, Karajan, Stokowski, Böhm, Kleiber, Celibidache, Sinopoli, Bernstein, Abbado, Muti and Barenboim. They have imbued in the orchestra the great European symphonic tradition from Beethoven to Shostakovich.

Its permanent conductors have been Bernardino Molinari, Franco Ferrara, Fernando Previtali, Igor Markevitch, Thomas Schippers, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Daniele Gatti and Myung-Whun Chung. From 1983 to 1990, Leonard Bernstein was its Honorary President.

The original Accademia di Santa Cecilia was founded in 1585 as an association of musicians in Rome by Pope Sisto V and its first President was the famous composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina in Rome. It is one of the oldest musical institutions in the world. Today’s Accademia di Santa Cecilia is governed by an independent board of Honorary Accademicians including Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Valery Gergiev and Lorin Maazel.

Since taking over as Music Director six years ago, Sir Antonio Pappano has revitalised and galvanised the Orchestra with his enthusiastic spirit, positive energy and consummate musicianship. It has been voted one of the leading orchestras of the world, whilst the Chorus of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia has been described as “one of the world’s great choirs” (The Independent), being in great demand on tour both with the Orchestra and on its own.

With Maestro Pappano, the Orchestra has toured extensively across Europe, Japan and the Far East, appearing in prestigious symphonic series at Vienna’s Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, London’s Southbank Centre, Tokyo’s NHK Hall and most recently at Berlin’s Philharmonie. They appeared during the 100th anniversary of the Proms and then returned with a thrilling account of Rossini’s William Tell. They have appeared to great critical acclaim at festivals in Lucern, Bucharest, Gran Canaries and Salzburg Festival.

In Rome, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia mounted a recent Mahler Symphony Cycle conducted by Antonio Pappano. In 2010, they were the first organisation in Italy to commission Hans Werner Henze to write a 45-minute piece Immolazione, which was premiered by Pappano conducting from the piano with singers John Tomlinson and Ian Bostridge. The same forces will give the German premiere of Immolazione in Hamburg in 2013.

Frequent guest artists with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia include Joyce DiDonato, Angela Gheorghiu, Josef Kaufmann, Anya Harteros, Martha Argerich, Maurizio Pollini and Rolando Villazon. Frequent guest conductors: Valery Gergiev, Colin Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Semyon Bychkov, Daniel Barenboim, Vasily Petrenko and Yuri Temirkanov.

Accademia di Santa Cecilia Recordings

In the UK alone, Maestro Pappano and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia have won more than 9 music awards over the past 2 years for their recordings on EMI Classics.

Recent Discography with Antonio Pappano on Warner Classics:

Britten – War Requiem – 2014
Verdi – Sacred Verdi – August 2013
Rossini – Petite Messe Solenelle – April 2013
Dvorak - New World Symphony & Cello Concerto – October 2012
Mahler - Symphony no. 6 – November 2011
Rossini - Guillaume Tell – July 2011
Rachmaninov - Symphony no. 2 – February 2011
Rossini - Stabat Mater – November 2010

Recent Awards
Antonio Pappano: 1st Annual International Opera Award (2013)
Antonio Pappano: Distinguished Musician Award, ISM (2013)
Antonio Pappano: Knighthood, Queen’s New Years Honours (2012)
Antonio Pappano: Male Artist of the Year, Classic Brit Awards (2011)
Verismo with Jonas Kaufmann: Recital Category, Gramophone Award (2011)
Rossini Stabat Mater: Editor’s Choice, Gramophone Award (2011)

Verdi Requiem:
Critics’ Choice, Classical Brit Awards (2010)
Choral category award, BBC Music Magazine Awards (2010)
Choral award, Gramophone Awards (2010)

Madam Butterfly:
Female artist of the year (Angela Gheorghiu), Classic Brit Awards (2010)
Opera Disc Award, Classic FM Gramophone Awards

Colbran, The Muse with Joyce Di Donato:
Recital, Gramophone Awards (2010)

“By far the best concert series of the Eternal City...Not to be missed” – New York Times

“It's a while since Italy could claim to have an orchestra that might genuinely compete with the best in Europe, but since Antonio Pappano took over at the Rome-based Accademia di Santa Cecilia in 2005, it has become a much more credible possibility.” - The Guardian

Sir Antonio Pappano

Born in London, Pappano moved to the USA at the age of 13. He conducted his first performance in 1987 at the Norwegian National Opera, where he was to become Music Director in 1990.

At the age of 32 he moved to Brussels having been appointed to the same office at La Monnaie, where he remained from 1992 to 2002. During this period he made his debuts in Vienna, at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and at the Bayreuth Festival with the help of his great friend Daniel Barenboim taking on the role of Pappano’s mentor.

Pappano became Music Director of The Royal Opera in 2002 (gaining the 2003 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera) and of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome in October 2005. Recent highlights with The Royal Opera include a new production of Il trittico, a celebration of Plácido Domingo's 40 years performing with The Royal Opera, a tour to Japan (conducting Manon, La Traviata and Handel's Messiah) and the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole. In May 2010 he presented a widely-acclaimed series, 'Opera Italia', for BBC television, and since then he has made many recordings for EMI, most recently Rossini's Guillaume Tell (released July 2011) and Mahler's Symphony no. 6 (November 2011).

Pappano received a knighthood in the Queen's 2012 New Year Honours List, and in May of the same year he was made a Cavaliere di Gran Croce Dell'Ordine Al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.