Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Born into a family of musicians, Abbado began his musical training at an early age. In 1958, he won the Koussevitzky conducting prize at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, the first milestone on his road to a career spent leading the world's finest orchestras. Abbado served as music director of Milan's La Scala from 1968 to 1986, where he worked to increase access to the opera for audiences of all classes. He has served as principal conductor and music director of the London Symphony Orchestra (1979–88), principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony (1982–86), music director of the Vienna State Opera (1986–91), and has also conducted the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic, among others. He was named music director of the Vienna Philharmonic in 1971, and artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1989.