The Orchestra Giovanile Italiana (Italian Youth Orchestra) was founded in 1980 by Piero Farulli. President of various juries of competitions for Italian orchestras, he realised that professional training for newly-graduated young musicians was not up to the mark and was inspired to do something about it. Taking advantage of a call for tenders issued by the regional authorities for professional training using EU funding, Farulli designed the first course specifically aimed at training orchestral musicians. He was adamant that the structure be based on chamber music, an essential tool for learning the art of reciprocal listening.
Therefore Farulli laid the foundations upon which the most comprehensive training programme for orchestral musicians of the last 30 years was built. In order to achieve this, he gathered together an expert group of his musician friends, from the Trio di Trieste to Roberto Michelucci, from Vinko Globokar to the legendary Franco Ferrara and to the legendary principals of the finest Italian symphony orchestras, including Giuseppe Prencipe, Mario Ardito, Carlo Pozzi and Giacinto Caramia.
Piero Bellugi was the first to lead the course’s students at the Teatro alla Scala in 1981, and the most eminent international figures from the world of music subsequently followed in his footsteps. Amongst them Riccardo Muti, who played a very important role as conductor of the first edition of the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana during a memorable concert for the Amici della Musica of Perugia on April 20, 1985. Muti refused compensation in return for sharing his wealth of musical knowledge, and has continued to do so for many years: he still regularly invites OGI to join forces with the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra for large-scale orchestra productions for Ravenna Festival.
Carlo Maria Giulini began collaborating with OGI in 1992 and conducted the young musicians time and again, routinely refusing any compensation, in unforgettable versions of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. Giuseppe Sinopoli was also a good friend to the Orchestra, which he guided through fascinating and complex programmes such as Schönberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra and Orpheus and Tasso by Liszt.
The baton was then passed to an ideal recipient, Daniele Gatti, who led OGI on a number of spectacular tours, whilst Gianandrea Noseda expertly inspired the young artists to find and unleash the most vibrant and profound music inside each and every one of them.
Finally, Gabriele Ferro is deeply ingrained in the Orchestra's history. He conducted a number of splendid performances such as those at La Scala, in Berlin, in Buenos Aires and in Santiago de Chile, with programmes of extraordinary refinement and intensity.