Fabio Luisi

Fabio Luisi (born 17 January 1959) is an Italian conductor. He is general music director of the Zurich Opera, music director of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and principal conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. He is scheduled to become music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 2020.[1]


Luisi was born in Genoa. He attended the Conservatorio Nicolò Paganini and was a student of Memi Schiavina. After receiving his degree in piano studies, he continued piano instruction with Aldo Ciccolini and Antonio Bacchelli.

Luisi developed an interest in conducting while working as a piano accompanist, and he studied conducting at the conservatory in Graz with Milan Horvat. He worked at the Graz Opera as an accompanist and conductor. His first conducting appearance was in Italy in 1984. From 1990 to 1995, he was principal conductor of the Graz Symphony Orchestra. From 1995 to 2000, he served as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Tonkünstlerorchester in Vienna. From 1996 to 1999, he was one of three main conductors (Hauptdirigenten) of the MDR Symphony Orchestra (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester) in Leipzig, along with Marcello Viotti and Manfred Honeck. From 1999 to 2007, he was sole principal conductor of the MDR orchestra. He was the principal conductor of l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande from 1997 to 2002.

In January 2004, Luisi was named chief conductor of both the Staatskapelle Dresden and of the Semperoper, Dresden. He assumed both posts in September 2007. With the Staatskapelle Dresden, Luisi conducted commercial recordings of music by Richard Strauss[2] and Anton Bruckner.[3] Luisi was originally scheduled to step down as chief conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden in 2012, at the expiration of his contract.[4] However, he resigned from both Dresden posts in February 2010, with immediate effect, after reports that the Staatskapelle's management had secured a contract with the ZDF network for a scheduled televised concert on New Year's Eve, 2010 with Christian Thielemann as conductor, without consulting him at all in his capacity as the orchestra's GMD.[5]

Luisi served as Chief Conductor of the Vienna Symphony from 2005 to 2013 season.[6][7] He became Generalmusikdirektor (General Music Director) of the Zurich Opera in 2012, which also includes orchestral concert work with the opera orchestra under the name of the Philharmonia Zurich.[8] He is scheduled to stand down as GMD of Zurich Opera after the close of the 2020–21 season.[9] Luisi first conducted the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (DR SymfoniOrkestret) in 2010. In August 2014, the orchestra announced the appointment of Luisi as its next principal conductor, effective in 2017, with an initial contract through 2020.[10][11] In May 2018, the DR SymfoniOrkestret announced the extension of Luisi's contract through 2023.[12] In January 2016, the Opera di Firenze announced the appointment of Luisi as its next music director, the first conductor to hold that title with the company, and in parallel, as director of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, as of April 2018, with an initial contract of five years.[13]

In the United States, Luisi made his Metropolitan Opera conducting debut in March 2005, with Giuseppe Verdi's Don Carlo.[14] In April 2010, the company named Luisi as principal guest conductor, for an initial contract of three years, effective with the 2010–11 season. Luisi was the second conductor to hold this title at the Metropolitan Opera, after Valery Gergiev.[15] The company elevated Luisi to the post of Principal Conductor in September 2011, when Music Director James Levine withdrew from his scheduled fall 2011 performances. Luisi stood down as principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera at the close of the 2016–17 season.[16]

In 2002, Luisi first guest-conducted the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. His next Dallas guest-conducting appearance was in March 2018. On the basis of this guest-conducting engagement, in June 2018, the Dallas Symphony named Luisi its next music director, effective with the 2020–21 season.[17] He is scheduled to take the title of music director-designate in the 2019–20 season.[18]

Luisi has conducted several opera recordings, including Giuseppe Verdi's Aroldo, Jérusalem and Alzira,[19] and Gioacchino Rossini's William Tell.[20] He won a Grammy Award for his leadership of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung on a Deutsche Grammophon DVD release of Richard Wagner’s operatic cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen. This was recorded live at the Metropolitan Opera and named Best Opera Recording of 2012.

Luisi and his wife Barbara Luisi, a photographer and violinist, have three sons.[7] Outside of music, his hobbies include perfumery and the production of his own personal line of perfumes.[21]

Honours and awards


  1. Michael Cooper (4 June 2018). "Fabio Luisi Will Follow Jaap van Zweden as Conductor in Dallas". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  2. Tim Ashley (11 January 2008). "Strauss: An Alpine Symphony/Four Last Songs; Harteros/Staatskapelle Dresden/Luisi". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  3. Fiona Maddocks (13 September 2009). "Bruckner: Symphony No 9". The Observer. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  4. "Christian Thielemann wird Chefdirigent der Staatskapelle Dresden" (Press release). Staatskapelle Dresden. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  5. Daniel J. Wakin (4 February 2010). "Saxon State Opera's Music Director Quits". New York Times. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  6. Ernst Naredi-Reiner (18 January 2011). "Umzug nach New York". Kleine Zeitung. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  7. Daniel J. Wakin (21 April 2011). "On Deck, the Met's Pinch-Hitter". New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  8. "Fabio Luisi appointed General Music Director at Zurich Opera House as of 2012" (Press release). Zurich Opera. 30 June 2009. Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  9. Christian Wildhagen (2 July 2018). "Stühlerücken im Opernhaus Zürich: Luisi geht, Homoki bleibt, Noseda kommt". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  10. "DR SymfoniOrkestret får ny italiensk chefdirigent". Danish Broadcasting Corporation. 31 August 2014. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  11. Emil Bergløv (1 September 2014). "DR hyrer stjernedirigent med faible for parfume". Politiken. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  12. Cecile Rosenmeier (17 May 2018). "DR SymfoniOrkestret forlænger kontrakten med Fabio Luisi". DR. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  13. "Fabio Luisi Named as Music Director Designate of Florence's Opera di Firenze and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino". Opera News. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  14. Anthony Tommasini (5 March 2005). "Can't Make Up His Mind, Just Like That Other Prince". New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2007.
  15. Daniel J. Wakin (27 April 2010). "The Met Anoints a Guest Conductor". New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
  16. Zachary Woolfe (4 February 2016). "Fabio Luisi's Future Looks Bright, Wherever It Is". New York Times. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  17. Scott Cantrell (4 June 2018). "Dallas Symphony names Italian conductor Fabio Luisi its next music director". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  18. "Fabio Luisi Named Next Music Director of Dallas Symphony Orchestra" (Press release). Dallas Symphony Orchestra. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  19. Tim Ashley (17 August 2001). "A brave new world". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2007.
  20. Tim Ashley (15 July 2005). "Rossini: Guillaume Tell, Gustafson/ Kotoski/ Ungureanu/ Sabbatini/ Hampson/ Vienna Staatsoper Orchestra and Chorus/ Luisi". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2007.
  21. Kathryn Shattuck (5 March 2014). "Notes Composed for the Nose". New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
  22. "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1379. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  23. "ONORIFICENZE: parametri di ricerca" (in Italian). Italian Presidency. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  24. "55th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees: Classical". Grammy.com. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Daniel Nazareth
Principal Conductor, MDR Sinfonieorchester
Succeeded by
Jun Märkl
Preceded by
Daniele Gatti (chief conductor)
Generalmusikdirektor, Zurich Opera
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
Principal Conductor, Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Zubin Mehta (principal conductor)
Music Director, Opera di Firenze and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Succeeded by
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