Marino Formenti is considered to be one of the most interesting musicians of his generation. Praised by the Los Angeles Times as “a Glenn Gould for the 21st Century”, his dedication to the new and the unexpected leads him to develop constantly new concert experiences and unexampled projects.
His performances include interpretations of recent works, improvisations and individual reflections on classical masterpieces; his most recent projects include often non-western and popular forms of music.
In quite ground-breaking piano recitals (“Kurtag’s Ghosts”, “Liszt Inspections”, “Torso”) Marino Formenti creates an intense dialogue between the works and the repertoires in a sort of continuous flow. This radically new approach has been presented at Lincoln Center New York, Lucerne Festival, Wigmore Hall London, New York Philharmonic, Konzerthaus Wien a.o.
“Liszt Inspections” was labeled as one of the “Best Performances of the New York Times” 2015 and of the “Best Recordings of The New Yorker” 2014. In The San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman stated: “What James Joyce did for the novel, Formenti seems intent on doing for the piano recital. The results were unforgettable”.
He has been Artist in Residence at Lincoln Center New York, at Wigmore Hall in London and at Nike Wagner’s Festival “Pèlerinages” in Weimar. In 2020 he will be Artist in Residence at BeethovenFest in Bonn as part of the Beethoven’s 250th Birth-Year Celebrations.
His exploration of the music experience led him to develop quite more radical performances beyond the traditional recital: In “Nowhere” he lives, eats, sleeps, and performs for several weeks in one and the same space, open to the public and livestreamed 24/7. Time, space, sound and togetherness are explored on a fairly other scale. “Nowhere” was performed at Berlin Festival, BoCa Lisboa, Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, Steirischer Herbst Graz, Performatik Bruxelles, Triennale Milano.
“One to One” offers a 2-hours-long musical rendez-vous with one single visitor. Pianist and spectator become gradually partners in the performance. The utterly intimate set-up was expanded up to a full-day-blind-date in “seven studies of communication and musicianship” for the Haubrok Foundation in Berlin. Originally conceived for Art Basel 2013, it was performed in Graz, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Torino, among others.
“Time to Gather” is a recital of a special kind, without the invisible wall between pianist and audience, without a set program, without a predictable ending. People can interact, and choose with the pianist what to listen, or play with him and instead of him.
In the music movie “Schubert und Ich”, Formenti selects the raw voices of five non-musicians of different age and background to work on songs by Franz Schubert, away from the well-bred, polished rendering of the classical concert.
Marino Formenti has appeared at the international festivals of Salzburg, Lucerne, Edinburgh, Schleswig-Holstein, Ravinia and Aspen as well as in the main Halls of New York, Berlin, Vienna, Los Angeles, Paris, London or Tokyo.
Marino Formenti’s orchestra engagements as a soloist have included performances with the New York Philharmonics, the Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Münchner Philharmoniker, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre de Radio France, the RSO Wien. As a soloist, he worked with Franz Welser-Möst, Gustavo Dudamel, Kent Nagano, Daniel Harding, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, among others.
As a conductor, he worked by invitation by Maurizio Pollini at Teatro la Scala in Milan, at the Salle Pleyel in Paris and the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome; he conceived and conducted further projects at Festival Wien Modern, Ravenna Festival, Darmstädter Ferienkurse as well as in LA, Chicago, Vienna, and Salzburg.
As an artist, he has appeared with important art institutions and festivals, such as Palais de Tokio in Paris, Mumok in Vienna, Art Basel, MADRE Neaples, Portikus in Frankfurt, and the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisboa.
Marino Formenti has performed chamber music with Gidon Kremer, Lars Vogt, Nicolas Altstaedt, Jörg Widmann, Emmanuel Pahud, Tabea Zimmermann, Caroline Widmann, Barbara Hannigan, and the actor Ulrich Matthes, among others.
He has closely collaborated with some of the greatest composers of our time, including György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Salvatore Sciarrino, Olga Neuwirth, Bernhard Lang, Georg Friedrich Haas, and Beat Furrer. He is a teacher-conductor of the ENM Ensemble of the Mozarteum University in Salzburg. 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.