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Guido Cantelli (1920 - 1956)

Cantelli’s father was a bandmaster in the Italian army and as a boy Guido was a member of his father’s military band. He also played the organ in church, conducted a local choral society, and by the age of fourteen was giving piano recitals in public. At the Milan Conservatory he studied composition as well as conducting and made his first professional appearance as a conductor directing Verdi’s La traviata in Novara at the Teatro Coccia, which had been founded by Toscanini in 1899. During World War II he was initially a member of the Italian army, but for his refusal to fight on the side of Fascism he was imprisoned in a labour camp on the Baltic coast. He escaped using forged papers and eventually returned to Novara where he worked as a bank clerk, possibly under a false name.




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