Salvatore Accardo gave his first professional recital in 1954, at age 13, in a program that included, prophetically, the Capricci for violin by Paganini. At age 15, Accardo won the prestigious Geneva Competition, and in 1958, Accardo was the winner of first Paganini Competition. Since then, Accardo has performed as concerto soloist with the world's major orchestras, in recital and chamber music, and, in recent years, has devoted time in his schedule to conducting. He assumed the position of music director of the Orchestra da Camera Italiana in 1996. With the orchestra, Accardo recorded the six complete Paganini concertos for EMI Classics in 1999, and the 3-CD set is due to be released in the United States in the fall. In addition to his specialty of the solo and concert works of Paganini, Accardo's vast repertoire ranges from pre-Bach to post-Berg. Twentieth-century composers who have written works for him include Sciarrino, Donatoni, Piston, Piazzolla, and Xenakis.
The Orchestra da Camera Italiana is based at the Walter Stauffer Academy in Cremona, an institution devoted to classical string playing and advanced music study. The Orchestra da Camera Italiana, established in 1968, took on a new degree of activity, involving international touring and recording, with the appointment of Salvatore Accardo as music director. Successful engagements in Italy in 1997, followed by performances in 1998 in Germany, Spain and Portugal led to the orchestra's first tour in 1999 to South America. It was followed by a series of performances in China, Japan and Vietnam. A performance in New York was part of a ten-city tour of the United States, after which the orchestra toured Germany. In 2001, the Orchestra da Camera Italiana appeared at the Jerusalem Festival. The ensemble's repertoire ranges from Bach to contemporary composers and, additionally, the orchestra has inaugurated a commissioning program.
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