Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fabio Biondi

Fabio Biondi is an Italian (Sicilian) violinist and conductor born (in Palermo) on March 15, 1961 (Heifetz was 60 years old and would live another 26 years.)  He is known for leading the Italian baroque ensemble which he founded (in 1989 – some sources say 1990), Europa Galante, one of the many original (authentic or period) instrument groups in Europe, with which he has toured the world.  Biondi is to Europa Galante what Simon Standage is to the English Concert except much more.  (Biondi has in fact recently conducted the English Concert ensemble.)  He began violin lessons at age five with Salvatore Cicero (concertmaster of the Sicilian Symphony Orchestra) in Palermo.  He made his public debut with the well-known Italian Radio Symphony (RAI) at age 12.  Interestingly, and perhaps foretelling the huge celebrity he would later attain, on this occasion, Biondi played Vivaldi's Concerto number 9 out of his Opus 8. (Vivaldi's Opus 8 also contains the Four Seasons, the best known baroque work for violin - they are the first four concertos in the set of 12 concertos in Opus 8.) Later on, he studied at the Conservatory of Rome with Mauro Lo Guercio (pupil of Salvatore Accardo and violinist with the Trio Modigliani), where he won a first prize in violin in 1981.  He was 20 years old; however, by age 16, he had already played a recital comprised of Bach violin concertos at the Musikverein (concert hall) in Vienna.  After that, he decided to concentrate on authentic baroque performance practice and subsequently played with a number of chamber music ensembles for a number of years, including the Musicians of the Louvre (Les Musiciens du Louvre), Seminario Musicale, and Vienna’s Musica Antiqua.  (Sergiu Luca was one of the first to delve into this area of performance but never became a specialist.)  In addition to the music of the typical baroque composers - Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Corelli, Locatelli, Scarlatti, and Tartini – Biondi has also recorded the works of Mozart, Franz Schubert, and Robert Schumann.  However, Biondi still performs as a soloist with other orchestras and ensembles, including the Mozarteum Orchestra, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of Norway.  It has been said of him that he “pursues style, free from dogmatism, in a quest for the original language.”  There are many videos of his on YouTube.  The one I have linked here is not Vivaldi or Corelli but it displays his fluid virtuosity quite well.  He plays a Gofredo Cappa violin (1690), a Carlo Gagliano (1766), and an Andrea Guarneri (1686.)  In 2005 Biondi was appointed artistic director for baroque music of the Stavenger Symphony (Norway.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment