On 23 November 1956 Guido Cantelli, a thirty-five-year-old conductor and protégée of Arturo Toscanini, died on a plane crash in Orly, France. Five years later, in 1961, the Provincial Touristic Board of Novara, hometown of Cantelli and the place where he held his last concert, promoted the Premio Cantelli for young orchestra conductors. Jury members were orchestra conductors, directors of conservatories, and music critics.
Over its ten editions, the Premio Cantelli saw, among its winners, several young talents who later became important conductors, like Eliahu Inbal (1963), Riccardo Muti (1967), Adam Fischer and Lothar Zagrosek (1973), Hubert Soudant (1975), and Donato Renzetti (1980).
After a long pause (the 1980 edition was the last one), this year, the centenary of the great conductor’s birth, the Premio Cantelli is presenting its eleventh edition.