Since its establishment, the Teatro del Maggio has combined history and tradition with the desire for innovation: the theater's clear international vocation is fitting for Florence, a city that has always been chiefly devoted to art and culture. This union makes the opera's cultural program truly singular in the world. The theater is home to the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino orchestra and choir. The elegant and modern structure was designed with excellent acoustics and offers up to 1800 seats distributed between the orchestra and balconies. On December 21, 2011 Florence's Maggio Theatre was inaugurated with a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 directed by Zubin Mehta. Designed by architect Paolo Desideri of studio ABDR, in 2014 it received the national prize for best architectural work realized in Italy in the last 5 years. The theater also houses Florence's Accademia del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, an academy for talented youth wishing to pursue a career in opera.