Concertisti Classica, la musica classica in Italia
Classical Music in Italy
Close this search box.
OSS Sicilian Symphony Orchestra
The Sicilian Symphony Orchestra was established in 1951 by law of the Sicilian Region, and began its concert activity in 1958. Recognized as a Concert-Orchestral Institution (ICO), since March 2002 the Sicilian Symphony Orchestra Autonomous Body has been transformed into Foundation (Sicilian Symphony Orchestra Foundation).


For the 62nd Season of the Sicilian Symphony Orchestra there are 26 productions on the bill, from October to May, with big names on the international concert scene and a wide and varied musical offer.

Among the major Italian orchestral groups also for staff consistency (92 professors), the Sicilian Symphony Orchestra realizes Concert seasons generally made up of 28/29 productions proposed in double reruns, from October to May. The calendar also includes special events that broaden the offer by proposing extra classical musical genres. The Sicilian Symphony Orchestra in the summer is engaged in off-site concerts ranging from Theaters by PietraW (Taormina, Segesta) at Orestiadi of Gibellina, to the July Musicale Trapanese, and annually participates in Weeks of Sacred Music of Monreale.

Since 2002 the seat of the Sicilian Symphony Orchestra has been Politeama Garibaldi, a valuable example of neoclassical architecture, the second theater of Palermo for prestige and grandeur.

The Orchestra was present among other things at the Dublin International Festival, the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, the Wiesbaden Festival, the Oxford Bach Festival, the Nuova Consonanza Festival in Rome, the Venice Biennale, the Festival International Piano of Bergamo and Brescia, at the Ravello Festival, at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. He has toured in Prague, Tokyo, Moscow, Japan and China (in 1996 it was the first Italian orchestra to perform in Beijing).

The Sicilian Symphony Orchestra was conducted by great composers of the past such as Igor Stravinskij and Darius Milhaud and by great conductors such as Herbert Albert, John Barbirolli, Ernest Bour, Aldo Ceccato, Sergiu Celibidache, Antal Dorati, Vittorio Gui, Efrem Kurz, Ferdinand Leitner , Pierre Monteux, Herman Scherchen, Riccardo Muti. In more recent years it has hosted, among others, Rudolf Barshai, Gary Bertini, Riccardo Chailly, Janzug Kakhidze, Emanuel Krivine, Alain Lombard, Peter Maag, Daniel Oren, Zoltan Pésko, Georges Prêtre, Hubert Soudant, Franz Welser Most, Fruhbeck de Burgos, Michel Plasson, Gunther Neuhold, Yuri Temirkanov, Lothar Koenigs.


The wide concert activity of the Sicilian Symphony Orchestra, which began in 1958, has considerably influenced the Sicilian and national musical reality.

The first symphonic concerts were conducted in Palermo by Georges Sebastian and Jean Martinon. Immediately after, the Orchestra took part in the celebrations of Puccini's centenary in Torre del Lago. A year after the first concert, the artistic director, Ottavio Ziino, gave life to the "Days of Contemporary Music" providing a decisive contribution to culture and musical taste of the Palermo public. In 1960 a collaboration was initiated with the "International Weeks of New Music" which in the 1970s made Palermo the international reference center of the so-called post-Darmstadtian avant-garde.

A decisive contribution to the enrichment and variety of the repertoire was given by the long Artistic Direction (from 1970 to 1995) of Roberto Pagano. The two presidencies of Francesco Agnello (respectively in the sixties and nineties) have given impetus to a significant opening to the younger public, to great cultural initiatives and to the most important national and international tours. The particularly refined choices of the 1996-97 season entrusted to Mario Messinis were destined by Radio Tre to a wide national limelight. Reviews such as those dedicated to Anton Webern or Karlheinz Stockhausen remain in the annals of musical activities in Sicily as an extraordinary model of cultural commitment.

A commitment that has been maintained with subsequent generations: on the threshold of the new millennium, Giuseppe Cataldo's Seasons between tradition and new proposals (Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie in “prima” in Palermo) aimed at an expansion of the public. His planning for schools (Haensel and Gretel, La volpe astuta) then found a systematization with the performances of "Musicaingioco" which characterized the artistic direction of Francesco Di Mauro (2007) which also included the proposal of historical directors such as De Burgos and Terminkanov.

After the heterogeneous contributions to programming by Alberto Veronesi, Cesare Mazzonis, Elizabeth Smith, Sergio Rendine, Ennio Nicotra and an important reorganization of the Orchestra due to Simone Bernardini, the appointment of Marcello Panni (2017), coinciding among other things with the Sixtieth anniversary of the Institution, appeared as a cultured recapitulation of many laborious years, with a relaunch of the vocation to the contemporary at a "national" level through the trips to the Sapienza in Rome (Punkte in Stockhausen conducted by Maxime Pascal) and at the Maggio Musicale in Florence (Sciarrino director of his compositions).

Currently the legal representative of the Foundation is the Extraordinary Commissioner Nicola Tarantino while Giandomenico Vaccari is the Superintendent and Gianna Fratta the artistic director.



Politeama Garibaldi TheaterLocated in the charming… more

Read More
Could it be interesting for you

Turin, Sentimento

Inner peace and restlessness, struggle between good and evil, stasis...

  • Not to be missed




    Concert Season


    101st Arena di Verona Opera Festival 2024

    From 7 June to 7 September '24

    Verdi Festival of Parma and Busseto, XXIV Edition

    From 21 September to 20 October '24

    LacMus Festival 2024

    From 9 July to 21 July '24

    Bologna Festival 2024 – 43rd edition

    From 18 March to 6 November '24

    Refreshments Baroque Festival 2024 | 2nd edition Verona

    From 15 FebruaryEnded 28 February '24