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Piero Bellugi, the music director of the RAI orchestra (Italian Radio Orchestra) in Turin from 1967, and conductor and artistic director of the opera in Palermo, Sicily, has died. He was 87.
Bellugi was born in Florence, Italy in 1924. After graduating from the National Conservatory ‘Luigi Cherubini’ in his hometown, he studied composition with Luigi Dallapiccola and conducting with Igor Markevitch.
He continued his conducting studies in the US and in 1950s he was an assistant to Leonard Bernstein. Soon afterwards he was appointed conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra in Davenport (Iowa), the Oakland Symphony (California) and the Portland Symphony (Oregon). This was followed by his enthusiastically received European debut in 1960 at La Scala Theatre in Milan.
A guest of orchestras the world over, Bellugi brought his conducting skills to Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Vienna, Brussels, Tel-Aviv, Prague, Madrid, Riga, South Africa, North and South America, Russia, Cuba, Australia, New Zealand as well as his homeland.
He also performed with a number of renowned instrumental soloists including Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and French virtuoso violinist Zino Francescatti.
In later life he also taught Master Classes in conducting at the New England Conservatory in Boston, the University of California, the Siena Academy and the Italian Conservatories of Florence, Rome and Turin.