José Luis Basso was born in Argentina of parents of Italian origin. At a very young age he became the conductor of the Chorus of the Teatro Argentino in La Plata, and in 1989 he took charge of the Chorus of the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.
Until 1994 he collaborated with the maestros Romano Gandolfi and Vittorio Sicuri at the Liceu. He then took over as chorus director at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.
Since 1996 he has been conducting the Chorus of the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, with which he goes on major international tours and has won a Grammy Award. He works with many distinguished conductors, such as Mehta, Sinopoli, Abbado, Muti, Pretre, Ozawa, Sawallisch, Giulini, Chung, Schreier, De Burgos, Bychkov, Pappano, Oren and Gergiev.
He took part in the grand opening of the Shanghai Opera House and has worked on various productions at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg.