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Fabio Biondi

Idioma disponible: inglés
Baroque violinist Fabio Biondi has been a pioneer in historically informed musical performance in his native Italy, both as a soloist and as the leader of his own Europa Galante ensemble. His sharp, energetic style has continued to influence the performance of Baroque music even as he has broadened his repertory across a 300-year period. Biondi was born in Palermo, on the island of Sicily, on March 15, 1961. He showed talent in his violin lessons with Salvatore Cicero, who later bequeathed to him the use of the Carlo Ferdinando Gagliano violin of 1766 that he would play as an adult. By 12, Biondi was performing concertos with the RAI National Symphony Orchestra. One decisive turning point came when he met historically oriented violin players as a teen and immediately became fascinated by the Baroque and Classical forms of the instrument (which differ from the modern ones in their strings, bridges, and bows rather than in the body of the instrument itself). When he was 16, he gave a concert on Baroque violin at Vienna's famed Musikverein, and he formed his own historical-instrument string quartet, the Stendhal Quartet, soon after that; the group did not focus exclusively on Baroque and Classical music but simply performed all its music, which included several commissioned contemporary compositions, on temporally appropriate instruments. Biondi went on to study at the Rome Conservatory, winning the school's first prize in violin. He performed with leading historical-instrument groups, including Jordi Savall's Hespèrion XX (now Hespèrion XXI) and Les Musiciens du Louvre in the late '80s. Biondi's breakthrough came after he formed the Baroque ensemble Europa Galante in 1990. The group's recording debut came almost immediately, with the album Vivaldi: String Concerti on the Opus 111 label. At the time, Europa Galante was the first historical-instrument Baroque group in Italy, which had lagged behind northwestern Europe, Britain, and Austria in the field. Pent-up demand brought the group immediate success; within a few years, the group had made several best-selling recordings, including one of Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos that sold 500,000 copies, and Europa Galante had snared invitations to prestigious venues, including New York's Lincoln Center, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome (one of several venues where they have backed opera productions), and London's Royal Albert Hall. Biondi has also conducted modern symphony orchestras, including the Radio France Philharmonic and the Gran Canaria Symphony Orchestra. Biondi's recording career has been marked by extensive activity as both a violinist and conductor. As a soloist, he has recorded for Opus 111, Virgin Classics, and Glossa, releasing a 2019 recording, The 1690 "Tuscan" Stradivari, on the latter label. The previous year, he had conducted Europa Galante in a historical-instrument performance of Verdi's early opera Macbeth. Biondi and Europa Galante released several albums in 2022, including Mendelssohn, which featured a selection of the composer's works for strings. By that year, Biondi's catalog comprised some 100 recordings.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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