Marino Formenti’s unusual combination of emotion and intelligence characterizes him as one of the most interesting musicians of his generation. In his work, the musical focus on the contemporary repertoire goes often with a reflection on the classical repertoire, and on the connections within the most different musical styles and backgrounds, including non-western and popular forms of music. Praised by the Los Angeles Times as “a Glenn Gould for the 21st Century”, his fondness for experimenting with the new and the unexpected led him to developing alternative concert formats and unique projects (Nowhere, One to One, Nothing is Real, The Party, Torso).
In the recital programs „Kurtag’s Ghosts“, „Liszt Inspections“ or „Torso“, Marino Formenti strives for a continuous flow of dialogue between the compositions and between the repertoires: a quite radically new approach that has been acclaimed at New York’s Lincoln Center, Los Angeles’ LACMA, London’s Wigmore Hall or the Lucerne Festival. Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronichle wrote about „Kurtag’s Ghosts“: „What James Joyce did for the novel, Formenti seems intent on doing for the piano recital. The results were unforgettable“. Liszt Inspections was labeled among the „Best Performances of New York Times“ 2015 and the „Best Recordings of The New Yorker“ 2014, and with a „Diapason d’Or“ and „Forbes CD of the Month“ in 2015.
Marino Formenti’s exploration of the musical experience led him to conceive quite more radical musical set ups: In „Nowhere“ (performed a.o. at Berlin Festival, BoCa Lisboa or Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires) he lives, plays, sleeps and eats for several weeks in the same space, open to the public and on a 24/7 internet streaming, to explore time, space, sound and musical communication on a different scale, with music by Bach, Feldman, Cage and/or own improvisations.
„One to One“, for Art Basel 2013 originally conceived, offers a 2-hour musical rendezvous with only a single listener; the uncommonly intimate setup was later expanded up to a full-day-blind-date in „seven studies of communication and musicianship“ at the Haubrock Foundation in Berlin.
In one of his latests projects, the film „Schubert und Ich“, Marino Formenti rehearses and accompanies songs by Franz Schubert with non-musicians as well as guides and inspires them through their own interpretations.
Marino Formenti 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, Paris, London, Zurich, Tokyo or Los Angeles. He is guest as well of important art institutions and performance festivals, such as the Palais de Tokio in Paris, the Mumok Vienna, the Portikus in Frankfurt or the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisboa.
Marino Formenti’s orchestra engagements have included performances with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Münchner Philharmoniker, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and he worked together with conductors Franz Welser-Möst, Kent Nagano, Daniel Harding, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel among others.
As a conductor himself, he worked by invitation of Maurizio Pollini at Teatro la Scala in Milan, at Salle Pleyel in Paris and the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome; he conceived and conducted further projects at the Festival Wien Modern, Ravenna Festival, Darmstädter Ferienkurse as well as in Los Angeles, Chicago, Vienna and Salzburg among others.
He closely worked together with some of the greatest composers of our time, such as Salvatore Sciarrino, György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Georg Friedrich Haas and Beat Furrer.
For his musical achievements he was awarded with the Belmont-Prize 2009 of the Forberg- Schneider-Stiftung in München.
“Marino Formenti, the Italian keyboard phenom, was on hand as pianist and conductor, and he was entirely in his element. That Formenti makes everything he touches, whether new music or old, seem astonishing is well known in Los Angeles, and the hall was full.”
- In this video, Marino Formenti sits backstage at Avery Fisher Hall, discussing the Ligeti Piano Concerto in advance of his performance of the piece with the New York Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen for the Hungarian Echoes Festival in March 2011.
- From the live performance at De Young Museum. San Francisco Performances. April 15, 2007. Music by Henry Purcell, Gyorgy Kurtag, Leos Janacek.
- From the live performance at De Young Museum. San Francisco Performances. April 15, 2007. Music by Pierre Boulez, Modest Mussorgsky.
- From the live performance at De Young Museum. San Francisco Performances. April 15, 2007. Music by Gyorgy Kurtag, Franz Schubert, Anton Webern, Frederic Chopin.
- From the live performance at De Young Museum. San Francisco Performances. April 15, 2007. Music by Guillaume de Machaut, Gyorgy Kurtag, Karlheinz Stockhausen.
- From the live performance at De Young Museum. San Francisco Performances. April 15, 2007. Music by Domenico Scarlatti, Gyorgy Kurtag, Franz Schubert.