Sir Antonio Pappano has been Music Director of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia since 1 October 2005; he had already become Music Director of London’s Covent Garden in September 2002. In the past, he has filled other prestigious positions: in 1990 he was named Music Director of Den Norske Opera of Oslo, the theatre where he made his international debut, and from 1991 to 2002 he carried out the same role at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels.
Born in London in 1959 to Italian parents, he studied piano, composition and conducting in the USA. Among the more impressive steps in his career must be cited his debuts at the Vienna Staatsoper in 1993, at the Metropolitan in New York in 1997 and at the Bayreuth Festival in 1999.
Sir Antonio Pappano has conducted many of the world’s major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Staatskapelle Dresden, Staatskapelle Berlin, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. In April 2014 he made his debut at Teatro alla Scala in Milan with Berlioz’s Les Troyens, a production which was awarded the “Premio Abbiati della Critica Musicale Italiana” as “Best Opera”. The “Premio Abbiati” of the National Association of Italian Music Critics is Italy’s most prestigious classical music prize.
In 2005, he was named ‘Conductor of the Year’ by the Royal Philharmonic Society; that same year he also received the Abbiati Prize for his conducting of the Requiems of Brahms, Britten and Verdi together with the Artistic Ensembles of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. And in 2013 he was honoured at the International Opera Awards as ‘Conductor of the Year’.
Sir Antonio Pappano records extensively for Warner Classics and has made several recordings with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and Chorus. Among his recordings are Britten’s War Requiem and Rossini’s Overtures, Verdi’s Aida (that has taken home numerous awards, among others, Gramophone Classical Music Awards, ECHO Klassik Preis as Conductor of the year and the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik), Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no. 1 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no. 2 with Beatrice Rana at the piano and, by Decca Records, Brahms’s Violin Concerto (with the Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia) and Bartók’s Violin Concerto no. 1 (London Symphony Orchestra) starring Janine Jansen as soloist and Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Jan Lisiecki (Deutsche Grammophon). Sir Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra also recorded Nessun Dorma, The Puccini Album with Jonas Kaufmann, Schumann’s Symphonies No.2 and No.4, Elgar’s Symphony No.1 (ICA Classics), the CD Anna Netrebko. Verismo (DG) and Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 “avec orgue” and The Carnival of the Animals with Martha Argerich. Most recently the album with Bernstein’s complete Symphonies nos. 1- 3 has been published.
In February 2016 Sir Antonio Pappano was awarded with the 58th Grammy® Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Recording together with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato for their Erato Classics release. In April 2019, he received again the Abbiati Prize as “Best conductor” for Bernstein’s West Side Story and for the Symphonies with Orchestra and Choir of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
On 16 April 2007 Sir Antonio Pappano was named an Active Accademician of Santa Cecilia. In 2012 Pappano was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music and in the same year he was appointed “Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana”. In March 2015 the honorary degree in Music was conferred to Antonio Pappano by the University of Tor Vergata in Rome, and on May 5th he received the RPS Gold Medal – the Royal Philharmonic Society’s highest honours – becoming the 100th RPS Gold Medallist since the honour was founded in 1870. He joins a rarefied group of musicians that includes Brahms, Elgar, Strauss, Stravinsky and Britten.