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Galliera’s father Arnaldo, a composer and professor of organ composition at the Parma Conservatory, taught his son the rudiments of music before Alceo entered the Milan Conservatory. Here Alceo studied piano, organ and composition, and was made a lecturer in organ and organ composition in 1932. His first professional appearance as a conductor came in 1941, with the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Having settled in Switzerland during the latter part of World War II, Galliera conducted at the Lucerne Festival in 1945 and then pursued the career of a guest conductor with appearances in Europe, South Africa, South America and Australia; during the years 1950 and 1951 he held the post of resident conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He went on to hold two further permanent appointments, as conductor at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa from 1957 to 1960, and as chief conductor of the Strasbourg Municipal Orchestra from 1964 to 1972. Galliera also composed several works of note, including the ballet Le vergini savie e le vergini folli (The Wise and Foolish Virgins) of 1942.

Throughout the 1950s and to a lesser degree during the 1960s Galliera recorded extensively for Walter Legge, conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in operatic and concerto recordings, as well as in several purely orchestral works. His reputation was that of a disciplinarian, and Legge valued him as an orchestral trainer who could be relied upon to maintain and even to improve the standards of his Philharmonia Orchestra. Among the numerous concerto recordings which he conducted were performances with Géza Anda, Claudio Arrau, Pierre Fournier, Leon Goossens, Werner Haas, Ingrid Haebler, Clara Haskil, Dinu Lipatti, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, David Oistrakh, and Artur Schnabel. His purely orchestral recordings included straightforward and musical accounts of symphonies by Mozart, Beethoven, Borodin and Dvořák. Galliera’s name remains before the public most notably through his conducting of Maria Callas’s complete studio recording of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, produced by Walter Legge, with Tito Gobbi in the title role.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Conductors, Naxos 8.558087–90).

Role: Conductor 
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