Riccardo Chailly, who was born in 1953 in Milan, studied at the Conservatories of Perugia, Rome, and Milan and at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana and began his career as an assistant to Claudio Abbado at La Scala in Milan.
Chailly was appointed Music Director of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1980, and in 1988 he moved to the same position with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, which he helmed for 16 years. From 2005 to the summer of 2016, Riccardo Chailly served as head of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. He has been the Music Director of La Scala in Milan since January 2015 and, since 2016, of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.
The summer of 2003 saw the birth of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, which was founded by the Italian conductor Claudio Abbado and the Festival’s Executive and Artistic Director Michael Haefliger. They established a link with the legendary "elite orchestra” for which Arturo Toscanini assembled acclaimed virtuosos of his time to create a magnificent ensemble, introducing it in a “Concert de Gala” in 1938, the year of the Festival’s founding.
Abbado served as Music Director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra up until his death in January 2014. Riccardo Chailly, who was appointed his successor, has since extended his contract until 2023.