Giuseppe Savazzi – Shoulder to shoulder with Sir Georg Solti

When the Rotary Club of Torino Nord, Italy, selected him to receive a Rotary Foundation Vocational Scholarship, Giuseppe Savazzi was excited about continuing his studies in orchestral conducting at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A. That meant the young conductor could attend performances of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, led by Sir Georg Solti, one of the world’s great maestros.

Giuseppe took a leave from his permanent position as principal tuba player at the Opera Teatro Regio in Torino to study at Northwestern, earning a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting in June. (He also holds a master’s degree in music from Milan’s Conservatory of Music, where he studied piano, and has a diploma in tuba from the Conservatory of Music in Geneva.)

At Northwestern, Giuseppe worked diligently and took time to attend the Chicago Symphony. “I was especially pleased,” he says “when Harold Lipofsky, past governor of R.I. District 644, arranged for me to attend a rehearsal session of the Symphony. I thought it would be the perfect environment for observing Solti’s techniques. After the rehearsal — to my surprise — Sir Georg greeted me, then spent more than an hour in animated discussion. He asked me to return the next day to continue the conversation for organize a program of work and study together. We even made plans to meet again in London and Milan. I certainly didn’t expect my Vocational Scholarship to be the beginning of such a prestigious independent study program.

Giuseppe started in music when he was six. At 17 he was playing tuba at the famed Teatro La Scala in Milan under the tutelage of Claudio Abbado. Today, music critics describe him as the top tuba player in Europe. He has played with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. “My focus now” he says “is on orchestral conducting. My year at Northwestern was important for that and the friendship with Maestro Solti was a fantastic bonus.”

Returning to Italy in late June, Giuseppe continued his studies at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena. In August, he assumed the baton as conductor of the Orchestra da Camera Internazionale, taking the group to Rio De Janeiro and other international capitals. In October he returns to Chicago to conduct a benefit concert for District 644, a major fundraising activity. “It will be one small way for me to repay Rotary International and the Foundation,” he says.

From “The Rotarian” – October 1988

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