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Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia


  • The Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia was the first orchestra in Italy to devote itself exclusively to symphonic repertoire, giving premieres of major masterpieces of the 20th century such as Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome.

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  • Founded in 1908, the Orchestra has been conducted by some of the major musical figures of the 20th century: from Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius, Stravinskij, Toscanini, Mengelberg, Furtwängler, De Sabata, Karajan, Solti, Giulini, Carlos Kleiber and Claudio Abbado to the most impressive performers of our day including Riccardo Muti, Valery Gergiev, Kurt Masur and Christian Thielemann. Leonard Bernstein was the Honorary President from 1983 until 1990, during which time the likes of Lorin Maazel, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Georges Prêtre and Yuri Temirkanov regularly conducted the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia.

    After a long partnership with Bernardino Molinari, the Orchestra’s Music Directors have been Franco Ferrara, Fernando Previtali, Igor Markevitch, Thomas Schippers, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Daniele Gatti and Myung-Whun Chung. With Sir Antonio Pappano, Musical Director since 2005, the stature of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia has enjoyed extraordinary success, building an international reputation for itself. With Pappano at the helm, the Orchestra has appeared at some of the major music festivals including the Proms in London, the White Nights in St. Petersburg, the Lucerne and Salzburg Festival, and has performed in some of the world’s best-known venues, including Musikverein in Vienna, Philharmonie in Berlin, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Royal Albert Hall in London, Salle Pleyel in Paris, La Scala in Milan, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and Semperoper in Dresden.

    After long-term collaborations with some of the biggest international record labels who have produced recordings that have since become legendary, Santa Cecilia Orchestra’s discography has grown considerably in the past few years: recent releases with EMI Classics (now Warner Classics), under Pappano, include Tchaikovsky’s last three Symphonies, Respighi’s Roman Symphonic Poems, Lalo’s Cello Concerto (with Han-Na Chang), Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (with Angela Gheorghiu, winner of a Classic Brit Award), Verdi’s Requiem (Gramophone Award, BBC Music Magazine, Classic Brit) and more recently Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Anna Netrebko (Gramophone Editors’ Choice Award) and Guillaume Tell, Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No.2, Mahler’s Symphony No.6, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 From the New World, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Verdi’s Quattro pezzi sacri, Britten’s War Requiem and Rossini Overtures.

Past tour
Mahler's Sixth Symphony
Europe, May 2019
Sir Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia perform Mahler's 'Tragic' Symphony No. 6 at the Barbican.

The Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia return to London following their appearance at the BBC Proms in August 2018 to perform Mahler's sixth symphony, under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano. 

This work, with its two - or sometimes three - 'hammer-blows of fate' has long been considered darkly and prophetically autobiographical. In 1906 the composer made the decision to cut the last of these three hammer-blows, however, subsequent conductors have often chosen to reinsert it. In addition to this, following the publication of the first edition of the score Mahler chose to reverse the order of the second and third movements and only ever conducted Andante-Scherzo rather than Scherzo-Andante as he had originally intended but editors and conductors have since reverted to the original structure meaning that the work as we most often hear it today is not as audience's in Mahler's lifetime would have experienced it. 


25 May 2019
Barbican Centre, London, UK

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Past tour
BBC Proms 2018
Europe, August 2018
The Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Sir Antonio Pappano return to the BBC Proms in August 2018 for a concert of Haydn, Bernstein and Mahler.


Hayden: ‘Chaos’ from The Creation
Bernstein: Symphony No.1 'Jeremiah'
Mahler: Symphony No.1 'Titan'


10 August 2018
Royal Albert Hall, London, UK

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Past tour
Sir Antonio Pappano and Yuja Wang
Europe, May 2017
Intermusica toured Sir Antonio Pappano with acclaimed pianist Yuja Wang.

The tour travelled extensively in Europe with repertoire including Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1, Respighi’s Fountains and Pines of Rome and Rossini’s overture The Siege of Corinth. Intermusica brought the orchestra to three of Europe's greatest stages in London, Paris and Amsterdam. 


9 May 2017
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam  

10 May 2017
Philharmonie, Paris  

11 May 2017
Royal Festival Hall, London  

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Past tour
Edinburgh International Festival
August 2016
Returning to the Edinburgh International Festival after their last visit in 1948 when they performed no fewer than six concerts, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Sir Antonio Pappano open the 2016 Festival.

The opening concert on 6 August 2016 will feature Italian works including Rossini's Stabat Mater with the Edinburgh Festival Chorus. The orchestra then perform Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet 'Overture-Fantasy', Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with soloist Boris Berezovsky and Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande on 7 August.


6 August 2016
Usher Hall, Edinburgh

7 August 2016
Usher Hall, Edinburgh

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Past tour
Eindhoven and Amsterdam
Europe, March 2015
Intermusica tour the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome, and Antonio Pappano with Dutch violinist Janine Jansen.

The orchestra and Pappano were joined by Janine Jansen for the first half of the concert to perform Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major. They also performed Schumann Symphony No.4, Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition and Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.


8 March 2015
Muziekgebouw Fritz Phillips, Eindhoven

9 March 2015
Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

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Past tour
Verdi Requiem
Europe, May 2014
Following the success of their Proms performances in July 2013 celebrating Verdi, Intermusica brings the Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Sir Antonio Pappano for a monumental project at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and Royal Festival Hall, London, in May 2014.

Pappano conducts the Orchestra and Chorus in Verdi’s Requiem both in Birmingham and London with soloists Hilba Gerzmava, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Joseph Calleja and Carlo Colombaro.

On 17 May in London, the orchestra perform a programme exploring the theme of freedom. Excerpts from Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, in which Florestan is wrongly imprisoned, opens the concert, followed by Dallapiccola’s one act opera Il Prigioniero which was composed in the aftermath of Mussolini's regime. The orchestra then segue into the solemn third and fourth movements of Beethoven Symphony No.9.

Soloists joining the orchestra for this concert included Stuart Skelton, Rachel Willis Sorenson, Louis Otey and Andrea Baker.


16 May 2014
Symphony Hall, Birmingham

18 May 2014
Royal Festival Hall, London 

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Past tour
BBC Proms
Europe, July 2013
Following the success of their Prom performance of Rossini’s Guillaume Tell in 2011, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with Music Director, Sir Antonio Pappano perform a symphonic programme for which they are joined by pianist Jan Lisiecki, who makes his Proms debut performing Schumann Piano Concerto.

The orchestra and Pappano also perform Mozart Symphony No.35 'Haffner' and Rachmaninov Symphony No.2. The Prom will be filmed for TV broadcast on BBC 4.

The second concert features the Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and soprano Maria Agresta, for an all-Verdi programme in celebration of the composer’s bicentenary. The programme includes the original version of ‘Libera me’, which Verdi composed for Messa per Rossini, and the Four Sacred Pieces. This Prom is filmed for TV broadcast on BBC 4.


19 July 2013
Royal Albert Hall, London

20 July 2013
Royal Albert Hall, London 

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Past tour
Amsterdam and Paris
Europe, October-November 2011
Following their landmark performance at the BBC Proms Intermusica tours the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia to the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and Salle Pleyel, Paris.

The orchestra and Maestro Pappano are joined by Hélène Grimaud for the first half of the concert to perform Brahms Piano Concerto No.1. They also perform Tchaikovsky Symphony No.6 'Pathètique'. Ms Grimaud’s appearance in Paris forms part of a month-long artistic focus at the Salle Pleyel.


31 October 2011
Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

1 November 2011
Salle Pleyel, Paris 

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BBC Proms, July 2011

Under Principal Conductor Antonio Pappano, the Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, returned to the BBC Proms for a concert performance of Rossini’s epic opera Guillaume Tell.

2011 is the the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy so fitting that this great Italian orchestra and chorus of nearly 200 performers, joined by a stellar cast of twelve solo singers, performs Rossini’s 39th and final opera at the BBC Proms. This special concert followed three sold-out performances of the four-act opera in Rome’s Sala Santa Cecilia in October 2010.

“Anyone who still believes that the words ‘Italian orchestra’ and ‘technical precision’ do not belong in the same sentence should have heard the performance. The orchestra is fleet and wonderfully together, with crunch, buoyancy, a keen sense of collective phrasing and its own very distinctive sounds.”
Financial Times

16 July 2011
Royal Albert Hall, London

Amsterdam and Paris, March 2009

Intermusica brings Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia to Amsterdam and Paris for debut performances in both the Het Concertgebouw and the Salle Pleyel. Led by their Music Director Antonio Pappano, the Orchestra performed two programmes consisting of works by Shostakovich, Bartók, Mendelssohn and Rossini.

1 March 2009
Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

2 March 2009
Salle Pleyel, Paris 

Proms debut, July 2007

The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia di Roma made their first Proms appearance under the baton of Antonio Pappano in mid July. The Orchestra perform Berio's Sinfonia with The Swingle Singers, for whom the piece was originally commissioned by the BBC Proms and first performed in 1969, and Rossini's Stabat Mater with their own chorus. The extraordinary combination of Berio and Rossini was a special wish of Pappano, and was warmly received by all the critics.

"I shall count myself fortunate if I hear another choral work this summer that has been so lovingly phrased or polished, or performed with such immaculate taste...Pappano somehow made it sound not just sincere, but noble and uplifting too. His orchestra played with terrific vitality - and his 90-strong chorus blew me away with their sonority, alertness and massive unanimity."

"This performance was a triumph. Conductor Antonio Pappano....seized the piece with a real opera conductor's passion....and the orchestra made the score seem even more lustrous than usual."

"The Orchestra playing...was faultless....The real heroes, however, were the Academy's Chorus, one of the world's great choirs: their singing was astonishing in its power, Flexibility and richness of tone."

"This was a performance with an epic sweep; perhaps only Pappano could make such a perfect match between Berio and Rossini."
Evening Standard

16 July 2007
Royal Albert Hall, London

Peter Ansell
Director / Head of International Touring
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