Born in Rome, he studied with his grand-father who taught him music theory, harmony and composition, and gave his first live performance at the age of 9; he completed his studies with Battisti d’Amario, perfected his skills with Alirio Diaz and then studied conducting under the private supervision of Franco Ferrara.
In 1971 he composed the music for the play “Maria Stuarda”, on stage in Rome, Paris and Bruxelles, for which he won the Soundtrack Award in San Remo.
In 1972 he was the founder and leader of the Boccherini Quintet: with this ensemble he played hundreds of concerts in Europe, America and Asia.
In 1978 he created and founded in Rome the International Academy of Music “Arts Academy”, which was successively chaired by Rubinstein, Ferrara, Zafred, Gavazzeni and Petrassi, where hundreds of the most famous musicians of the XX ° century taught and more than 5,000 students graduated.
In 1979 Franco Ferrara became President of the “Arts Academy” and conducting teacher of Francesco La Vecchia. A strong relationship developed between the two musicians, which made Petrassi state that Francesco La Vecchia had become, in those years, Ferrara’s preferred student.
In 1982 he started his career as conductor and was made Permanent Conductor of the Symphonic Institution of Rome; he then received other assignments in Hungary, Brazil, Mexico, and Portugal. From the ‘80s until today he has regularly been invited to conduct by more than 150 among the most prestigious Symphonic Orchestras and Opera Theatres worldwide.
In 1983-1984 he cooperated regularly with 3 Opera Theatres in Bulgaria, conducting several operas: Tosca, Traviata, Rigoletto, Manon, Trovatore, Falstaff, Turandot and The Daughter of the Regiment.
In 1985, in the framework of the European Year of Music celebrations, Francesco La Vecchia received the Award for Emerging Carriers; in 1986 he conducted the full-length version of Liszt’s symphonic poems and concerts and received a special recognition from the Hungarian government; in 1991 he was presented with the Bellas Artes Award in Buenos Aires, in 1996 with the Carlo Gomez Award in Rio de Janeiro; in 2006 with the Music Award in Rome; in 2008 with the Foyer des Artistes Award and in 2009 with the title of Academic of the Beijing Academy of Music; During his career Francesco La Vecchia conducted in front of 4 Presidents of the Italian Republic and the Presidents of Brazil, France, Germany, Austria and Russia; he was invited to conduct in Madrid for H.M. the Queen of Spain and in another occasion he conducted for H.M. the Queen of Holland. Many cities worldwide granted him the title of Honorary Citizen. A strong supporter of social commitment, he has supported dozens of initiatives and conducted hundreds of charity concerts worldwide: the Concert in the Amazon Rainforest against deforestation; the Concert for Peace in Bethlehem; the creation in Latin America of the youth orchestra “New World Young Orchestra”; the Concert for the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; a Concert in the Mangueira Favelas in Rio de Janeiro; the “Stand Up” project for the United Nations; a Concert for FAO; the Concert for the tenth anniversary of the abolition of apartheid laws; a concert in SiChuWan for the victims of the earthquake in China; dozens of concerts in rehab treatment centers for drug-addicts; hundreds of concerts in schools and universities in Italy, Mexico and Brazil.
Since 1986 until today he has been Artistic Director for several national and international Festivals: the AnzioFestival from 1986 to 1992; the Lake Festival in Bracciano Castle from 1992 to 1994; the Musica de Verao Festival in Minas Gerais in Brazil from 1989 to 1995; the Tuscania Festival from 1997 to 2001; the Musicorum Tempora Festival in the archeological area of Villa Adriana until 2000 and in 2003 he created the Festival which takes place in Rome in the Massenzio Basilica and in the Campidoglio Square.
In 1988, he was invited by Giancarlo Menotti, to conduct for the very first time pieces by Franco Ferrara at the Due Mondi Festival in Spoleto.
In 1990 he embarked on an extended European concert tour with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra and Severino Gazzelloni and in the same year founded the Symphonic Orchestra of Latium..
In 1991 he conducted the Philharmonic Orchestra of Sofia in a memorable concert at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome in commemoration of the bicentenary of Mozart’s death.
In 1993 he was the founder and first permanent conductor of the New World Young Orchestra in Latin America.
In 1996 he was invited by the President of Brazil, for the centenary commemoration of Carlos Gomez’s death, to conduct an historic edition of the opus The Guaranì, performed in some of Brazil’s most important cities.
In 1998 he embarked on an extended tour of Korea and Japan with the Symphonic Institution of Rome.
In 1999 he conducted a concert from the Cave of Bethlehem which was broadcasted worldwide by RAI. That year the music collection entitled “Maestro”, dedicated to him by the weekly newspaper “Avvenimenti”, was first in terms of sales; he also recorded in Japan, Mexico, Canada and Brazil.
In 2001 he was made Director of the Professional Training Course for Orchestral Conductor Professors, with which he launched the “Ottorino Respighi” youth orchestra: this project will be the prerequisite for the founding of the Symphonic Orchestra of Rome.
In 2002 he was appointed as artistic and musical director of the Symphonic Orchestra of Rome. From then onwards he dedicated himself almost entirely to the Orchestra that he had founded. Every year he conducts half of the seasons’ productions, all Operas and all tours. In nine years at the head of the Symphonic Orchestra of Rome he has already directed 21 opera productions, 18 Masses and Oratorios, and around 500 concerts, with at least 200 different programmes; among these, it is important to recall full-length versions of symphonies by Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss, Mahler, Martucci and Casella.
Since 2005 he has been working on a discography project which should include, for the very first time, a large quantity of the symphonic repertoire by Italian authors. He has already recorded for Naxos the full-length versions of symphonies by Martucci and Casella and many other monographic CDs dedicated to Malipiero, Busoni, Wolf Ferrari, Petrassi, Ghedini, Mercadante, Sgambati, Catalani, Bazzini, Foroni, Mancinelli, Franchetti, Bolzoni and others. In 2012, the massive first-ever recording of the complete symphonic opus by Ottorino Respighi will be completed.
Thanks to such a performing and recording commitment (the discography project is expected to contain more than 140 pieces), Francesco La Vecchia is today considered by worldwide critics to be one of the most qualified interpreters of Italian symphonism.
In 2009 he was appointed as Principal Guest Conductor of the Berliner Symphoniker Orchestra. In the same year, for the bicentenary of Haydn’s death, he conducted the oratory Die Schopfung in a contemporary performance broadcasted live worldwide which involved the most important orchestras and most famous conductors in the world in 20 different capitals; in this prestigious and unique event Italy was represented by Francesco La Vecchia.
In 2010 he conducted an edition of the 9th Symphony of Beethoven in the prestigious Gewandhaus Hall in Lipsia, obtaining an extraordinary success among the public and critics.
In 2011, for the centenary of Mahler’s death, he directed the full-length version of the Symphonies.