Conheça a história do maestro Júlio Medaglia.

Photo: personal collection


MCB honors conductor Júlio Medaglia, precursor of Tropicalism in Brazil

The influence of conductor Júlio Medaglia’s work on Brazilian Popular Music (MPB) is not easily measured. Along with maestro Rogério Duprat, Medaglia was one of the first Brazilian composers to combine classical music with regional and contemporary elements. This union of styles became the key to understanding the provocative aesthetics of the tropicalist movement, as well as the modern and timeless sound of Brazilian music as a whole.

“Tropicália” by Caetano Veloso and conducted by Júlio Medaglia, TV Tupi, 1979

Born in São Paulo, Júlio Medaglia graduated in symphonic conducting from the Meister-klasse of the Higher School of Music at the University of Freiburg in the early 1960s. Living in Germany for more than 10 years, he conducted some of the most important orchestras such as the Philharmonic of Berlin. At that time, he attended classes by musical avant-garde masters like Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen and had illustrious colleagues like the musician Frank Zappa. Medaglia also took a high symphonic interpretation course with Sir John Barbirolli, of whom he was an assistant in Italy.

Back in Brazil in the late 1960s, he signed the arrangement for “Tropicália” (1968), a song by Caetano Veloso that baptized Tropicalismo and that would change the structures of MPB forever. He was also one of those responsible for inserting Caetano in the vanguard of São Paulo.

In addition to his activity as a conductor, from the 1970s he worked as a teacher and composer of soundtracks, composing more than a hundred works for theater, cinema and television. A selection of his tracks was recorded by BIS 952, the wind instruments of the Berlin Philharmonic, while a selection of arrangements was recorded by EMI, a set of 12 cellos from the same Philharmonic.

Throughout his career, conductor Julio Medaglia founded and directed several orchestras. One of the most notorious is the Amazonas Philharmonic, a daring project with the participation of musicians from different countries performing at Teatro Amazonas (Manaus).

In 1996, the conductor participated in the tributes to the 100 years of death of the composer Carlos Gomes, conducting the opera “O Guarany” with the participation of 200 musicians from the Bulgarian National Opera, an event broadcast by several European countries on Eurovision TV and recorded on CD and Video.

For 30 years working at Rádio Cultura FM (São Paulo), conductor Júlio Medaglia presents the daily program “Fim de tarde” in which he takes to the public excerpts from concerts and reflections on contemporary music. Currently, he also conducts the TV Cultura orchestra in the “Prelúdio” program, a program broadcast on a national network that has already received the award for “best cultural project on Brazilian TV” by the São Paulo Association of Art Critics (APCA).

Prelude Program

For his work as a writer of books and articles about music, in 2009, Medaglia was elected to the 3rd seat of the Paulista Academy of Letters, the same one that belonged to Mário de Andrade. Nowadays, he also serves as a member of the National Academy of Music.

In addition to his numerous decorations, he received from the Ministry of Culture the “Grand Cross” of the Order of Cultural Merit.

“Medaglia, 80”, a special produced by TV Cultura in homage to the 80 years of the Maestro

Júlio Medaglia was also one of the curators of the Music Project at MCB and recorded a testimony for the 50 years of the Museu da Casa Brasileira. Check out:

To follow the work of Júlio Medaglia, keep an eye on the conductor’s social networks:

Instagram | Spotify


Regency of The National Opera, Bulgaria, 1996



About MCB
The Museum of the Brazilian House, an institution of the Secretariat of Culture and Creative Economy of the State of São Paulo, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020, is dedicated to the preservation and diffusion of the material culture of the Brazilian house, being the only museum in the country specializing in architecture and design. The MCB’s program includes temporary and long-term exhibitions, with an agenda that also includes educational service activities, debates, lectures and publications contextualizing the museum’s vocation for the formation of critical thinking on topics such as architecture, urbanism, housing, economics creativity, urban mobility and sustainability. Among its numerous initiatives, the Design MCB Award stands out, the main segment award in the country held since 1986; and the Casas do Brasil project, to rescue and preserve memory about the rich diversity of living in the country.

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