Expressive freedom arises whenever Mario Brunello makes music. The Italian cellist, equally at home as concerto soloist, chamber musician and originator of pioneering projects, has captivated audiences worldwide. His poetic artistry has been praised by Gramophone for its “great spirit” and described as “intense and passionate” by The Strad. He was born in 1960 at Castelfranco Veneto; the surrounding countryside has proved an enduring inspiration, influencing everything from the cellist’s feeling for rubato to his fascination with the interdependence of sound and silence. As the founder and artistic director of Arte Sella and I Suoni delle Dolomiti festivals, Brunello has invented performances in the high peaks of the Dolomites.
Mario Brunello made his breakthrough in 1986 as the first and only Italian ever to win the coveted International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. His success was built on studies with Adriano Vendramelli at the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello of Venice and with Antonio Janigro.
Brunello’s heartfelt playing has secured engagements with such leading conductors as Antonio Pappano, Valery Gergiev, Yuri Temirkanov, Manfred Honeck, Riccardo Chailly, Vladimir Jurowski, Ton Koopman, Riccardo Muti, Daniele Gatti, Myung-Whun Chung and Seiji Ozawa, and concerto performances with many of the world’s foremost ensembles, from the London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Munich Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestras to the NHK Symphony Tokyo, Kioi Sinfonietta, DSO Berlin, Filarmonica della Scala and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
Brunello’s 2018-19 season includes many prestigious engagements, such as performances in Tokyo with NHK Symphony Orchestra and Kioi Hall Chamber Orchestra, this last in the double role of soloist and conductor. He will perform with RAI Orchestra Turin and will continue his collaboration with Kremerata Baltica as soloist and conductor through different projects over the following seasons.
In this concert season, Brunello will realize a life dream: he will play the complete 12 solo works for string of J. S. Bach: the 6 Cello Suites will be performed on the cello and the 3 Sonatas and 3 Partitas for violin on the cello piccolo. The complete cycle will be performed in 4 concerts in many cities and will be recorded for a later CD release.
In December 2018, Mario Brunello will start a new collaboration with the Philharmonie Zuidnederland in Eindhoven where he has been appointed Guest Conductor for the next three seasons with the special aim to give attention to the works of the First Viennese School and the repertoire, known and less know, for cello and orchestra.
Brunello has forged fruitful chamber music partnerships with Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Martha Argerich, Andrea Lucchesini, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Isabelle Faust, Maurizio Pollini and the Hugo Wolf Quartet.
His all-encompassing artistic passions have generated special projects that cross genres, including collaborations with singer-songwriters Vinicio Capossela, writers Monia Ovadia, Stefano Benni, actor Marco Paolini, musicians like Uri Caine and Paolo Fresu. With his striking interpretations and individuality, he has embraced new audiences; many innovative projects were born at Antiruggine (‘rust-proofing’), a former Castelfranco Veneto iron foundry transformed by Brunello into a laboratory for exploring creative dialogues with literature, philosophy, science, visual arts and multimedia.
Brunello’s breadth of interests is reflected in his substantial discography, including works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Vivaldi, Haydn, Chopin, Janaček and Sollima. The “Brunello Series” 5 Cds, on EGEA label, includes Tavener’s The Protecting Veil with the Kremerata Baltica and Bach’s Cello Suites (which received the prestigious Italian Critics’ Award). His many other outstanding albums include recordings of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Claudio Abbado for Deutsche Grammophon, Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with Antonio Pappano and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia (Warner) and a live video recording from the Salle Pleyel in Paris of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2 with Valery Gergiev.
Mario Brunello is an Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia’s Academician and plays a precious Maggini cello of the early 1600.