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"a Glenn Gould for the 21st century, a visionary for whom the usual
limitations of either technique or tradition are not an issue"
~ Los Angeles Times
Italian born pianist/conductor Marino Formenti has distinguished himself as one of the most compelling and original interpreters of his generation, particularly for his performances of modern and contemporary music in unusual and experimental concert formats. In projects such as “Kurtag’s Ghosts,” “The Party,” “Piano Trips,” and “Seven Last Words,” Marino Formenti reveals striking new interpretations of old works, performing them in context with contemporary music.
He has appeared at the international festivals of Salzburg, Lucerne, Edinburgh, Schleswig-Holstein, Ravinia and Aspen, as well as the great concert halls of Berlin, Vienna, Cologne, Paris, Tokyo, Zurich, Moscow, Rome, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, where he presented the 3-concert cycle “Piano Trips” for Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series.
Orchestra engagements have included the New York Philharmonic, the Munich Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the major European radio orchestras, with conductors including Franz Welser-Möst, Kent Nagano, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Daniel Harding and Gustavo Dudamel. He has also collaborated with fellow artists such as Gidon Kremer, Ulrich Matthes and Maurizio Pollini.
Last season Formenti debuted a new work entitled “Nowhere” at the Graz Steirischer Herbst Festival and repeated the performance in Bregenz Festival. Abandoning the usual conventions of time, program, venue and the separation of stage and life, Formenti lived, ate, slept and performed for eight days in a studio space.
In a triumphant debut at London’s Wigmore Hall, he performed his program “Kurtag’s Ghosts” and was immediately reengaged for multiple projects. He also unveiled “The Eclectic Nite: Song Project No. 1,” a dialogue between the music of Jacques Brel, Billie Holiday, and Thelonious Monk with John Cage, Harrison Birtwistle, Erik Satie and others at New York City’s (le) Poisson Rouge. He conducted a program of Beethovan and Dvorak at the Konzerthaus in Berlin, debuted his new program “Liszt Inspections” in Hamburg, and performed Ligeti’s piano concerto with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
In the “Party,” which will be presented this season with Chicago’s contemporary music ensemble Dal Niente, Formenti explores new contexts for presenting music. During the six-hour artistic event, audience members are encouraged to stand, sit, lounge, eat and drink – conditions designed to foster a sense of freedom and ease that facilitates intense focus on the music.
In the current season, he curates four concerts that reflect on his education in experimental music for the “Nouvelles Adventures” series at the Vienna Konzerthaus. At the Festival Wien Moderne, he performs in a four-part series that includes works by George Benjamin, Brian Ferneyhough, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and a world premiere by Friedrich Cerha written for “for Marino.”
Formenti’s performances have been hailed by the international press as “mesmeric, shamanic, unforgettable… he is in short a phenomenon” (Los Angeles Times). He was described as a “visionary” by the New York Times, and “superhuman” by the Los Angeles Times. LA Weekly wrote that Formenti invoked a “state of exhilaration beyond any experience” and the Austrian Standard hailed him as a “fantastic… incredibly gripping” performer. In a review of "Kurtag’s Ghosts," the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “What James Joyce did for the novel, Formenti seems intent on doing for the piano recital. The results were unforgettable.”
Formenti began his conducting career as assistant to both Kent Nagano and Sylvain Cambreling, and has since led performances at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, Vienna’s Musikverein and Konzerthaus, at Konzerthaus Berlin, for the Festival Wien Modern and Ravenna Festival. In 2009, at Maurizio Pollini’s express invitation, Formenti led concerts with Pollini at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Salle Pleyel in Paris, and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. He conducted the Austrian premiere of Kurt Weill’s opera “Der Protagonist” and in 2010, led the chamber version of Prokofiev’s “The Fiery Angel,” which was unanimously hailed by the European Press.
Formenti has worked with some of the world’s greatest living composers, among them Helmut Lachenmann, Gyorgy Kurtag, and Salvatore Sciarrino.
In 2009 Marino Formenti was awarded the Belmont Prize for contemporary music by the Forberg-Schneider Foundation.
He has recorded for Kairos, col legno and BIS. His most recent recording, a 2-CD set of “Kurtag’s Ghosts,” is now available on Kairos.
(December 2011. Please discard previously dated materials and contact firstname.lastname@example.org before making any alterations or cuts.)