Riccardo Chailly's first recording, made in 1978, was a complete recording of Rossini's final opera Guillaume Tell, starring Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni. His first orchestral recording was a best-selling collection of Rossini Overtures in 1981.
2005 saw Riccardo Chailly's first release as conductor of the Gewandhausorchester, with a live recording of his inaugural concert from Leipzig. Subsequent award-winning recordings with the orchestra include the Brahms Piano Concertos with Nelson Freire, Violin Concertos by Mendelssohn and Bruch with Janine Jansen, Schumann Symphonies and an album of Mendelssohn Discoveries which includes the world-premiere recording of a reconstruction of the Piano Concerto no. 3. In 2010 three large-scale Bach masterpieces with the Gewandhausorchester have been released: the Brandenburg Concertos, the St. Matthew Passion and the Christmas Oratorio. 2011 saw the release of the complete Beethoven symphonies a landmark event for Decca Classics, for Riccardo Chailly, and for the Gewandhaus Orchestra.