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Alain Lombard won a gold medal at the Dimitri Mitropoulos Competition in 1966, immediately afterwards becoming assistant to Karajan in Salzburg and later to Bernstein in New York. There followed an intense period of activity during which he was guest conductor of a number of important orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the London Symphony and the Berlin Philharmonic. He was permanent conductor at the Metropolitan in New York, at the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Paris Opéra. In 1988 he was invited to direct the Opéra National de Bordeaux, where he remained until the end of 1995, conducting around 200 performances a year between opera and concerts. His many recordings have won prestigious international awards. In 1999 he began a close relationship with the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana as principal conductor, and in 2005 he was made honorary director. In the same year he was awarded the Karajan Prize in Paris in recognition of his career.