Giulini held conducting posts at La Scala, the Chicago Symphony, the Vienna Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and made many much-loved recordings.
Born in Barletta, Italy, Giulini studied conducting and the violin at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. He made his debut as a conductor leading the Santa Cecilia orchestra in concert to celebrate the liberation of Rome in 1944. In the late 1940s, he led RAI (Italian radio) orchestras in Rome and Milan, before being hired as an assistant conductor at La Scala. In 1953, he was named principal conductor at the opera house.
Shortly thereafter, Giulini appeared in England at Glyndebourne and Covent Garden, and he made his American debut in 1955 with the Chicago Symphony. He was appointed the principal guest conductor of the CSO in 1969, and led the Vienna Symphony from 1973 to 1976.
In 1978, he succeeded Zubin Mehta as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; he remained in the position, his last full-time post, until 1984, when he resigned to spend more time with his ailing wife. He continued to make guest-conducting appearances, however, in Paris, Chicago, Milan, Berlin, and Vienna.
Giulini's style was characterized by slow tempos and a rich, pure sound. He studied scores intensely and revered the great composers of the past. "The conductor is a musicians in the service of the geniuses of music," he said in an interview. "We are only interpreters."