Founded in 1928 by Vittorio Gui as the Stabile Orchestrale Fiorentina, from its inception the Orchestra plays in concerts and operas of the Teatro Comunale of Florence. Today it is still considered one of the finest orchestras both by conductors and public.

In 1933, at the birth of the Festival, the orchestra takes the actual name of Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. After Gui, Mario Rossi became Music Director in 1937, succeeded by Bruno Bartoletti in the post-war period.

Major chapters in the history of the Orchestra are the musical direction of Riccardo Muti (1969 – 1981) and that of Zubin Mehta, Principal Conductor since 1985, who every season conducts major symphonic and operatic productions. In the course of its history the Orchestra has been led by some of the greatest conductors such as Victor De Sabata, Antonio Guarnieri, Gino Marinuzzi, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Tullio Serafin, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, Issay Dobrowen, Jonel Perlea, Erich Kleiber, Arthur Rodzinski, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Thomas Schippers, Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Carlo Maria Giulini, Georges Prêtre, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Carlos Kleiber, Georg Solti, Riccardo Chailly, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Seiji Ozawa and Daniele Gatti.

Acclaimed composers including Richard Strauss, Pietro Mascagni, Ildebrando Pizzetti, Paul Hindemith, Igor Stravinskij, Goffredo Petrassi, Luigi Dallapiccola, Krzysztof Penderecki and Luciano Berio have conducted their works with the orchestra, often in world premieres.

Since the 1950s the Orchestra has made numerous recordings for record labels, radio and television, which received major awards including, in 1990, the Grammy Award. For the 80th anniversary since its foundation the Orchestra was honoured with the Fiorino d’Oro of the City of Florence.

© International Rostropovich Festival “Mstislav Rostropovich Week”, 2010 — 2021