Mario Brunello

Mario Brunello is one of the most multifaceted and sought-after artists of his generation. A soloist, chamber musician, conductor, and a pioneer of cello piccolo, he is the first European ever to win the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1986. Brunello is a cellist of an extraordinary talent that balances performing a wide-ranging repertoire spanning from early music to contemporary.

Brunello’s authentic and passionate performance style allowed him to collaborate with the most renowned conductors of our generation such as Antonio Pappano, Valery Gergiev, Myung-whun Chung, Yuri Temirkanov, Zubin Mehta, Ton Koopman, Manfred Honeck, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Riccardo Chailly and Claudio Abbado.

Mario Brunello has collaborated with many of the world’s leading ensembles including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Liverpool Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, NHK Symphony Tokyo, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Filarmonica della Scala and Munich Philharmonic, to name just a few.

As a chamber musician, Mario Brunello has shared the stages worldwide with artists such as Gidon Kremer, Martha Argerich, Yuri Bashmet, Andrea Lucchesini, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Giuliano Carmignola, Maurizio Pollini and Borodin Quartet.

Mario Brunello is a passionate admirer of most various forms of musical expression, but also of philosophy, science, theatre and literature. His passion for finding new ways of communication and attracting new audiences have prompted him to design performances with notable personalities such as jazz pianist Uri Caine, singer-songwriter Vinicio Capossela, the physicist Carlo Rovelli, the writer Alessandro Baricco and actor Marco Paolini, to name a few.

The coming season will see Mario Brunello perform at Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Kioi Hall Tokyo, Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, Berliner Philharmonie, Vredenburg Utrecht, Zaryadye hall Moscow, La Chaux de Fonds, Sala Verdi Milan, Lingotto Turin, and Parco della Musica in Roma.

Highlights of the previous season have included concerts with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariinksy Orchestra St Petersburg, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra Moscow, NHK Tokyo and Rai Turin Orchestra. Together with Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica, Brunello has appeared at the Kronberg Festival and has toured South America.

In the recent years Mario Brunello has expanded on his activity as both a soloist and conductor. Since 2018 he is an Artist-in-Residence at the Philharmonie Zuidnederland in Eindhoven, where he actively focuses his repertoire to Haydn mixed with classicism and contemporary music. Other notable collaborations include fruitful partnerships with Kremerata Baltica, Moscow Soloists, Teatro la Fenice Orchestra, Tchaikovsky Orchestra Moscow, Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo and ORT in Florence, to name just a few.

Brunello plays a precious Maggini cello crafted in the early 1600s. He has, however, grown increasingly fond in recent years of the “cello piccolo”. This instrument shares the tuning and the technique of the violin but possesses the deep, sonorous voice of a standard cello, which inspired Brunello to explore the masterpieces of the baroque violin repertoire by Bach, Vivaldi and Tartini on this unconventional instrument.

The Sonatas and Partitas of JS Bach has been the first revelatory recording of Mario Brunello, received with praises by the international press. Performances of this cycle are programmed during the season 2020–23 all over Europe.

Mario Brunello has made various recordings in exclusive for Outhere. Critics and listeners alike have been captivated by ‘Sonar in Ottava’, a CD released in March 2020 (which BBC Music Magazine rated as among the “best concerto recordings” of 2020), joining his life-long friend Giuliano Carmignola. The highly original programme revisits Bach and Vivaldi Double Concertos performed on this occasion on violin and violoncello piccolo.

Brunello has exploited the full potential of cello piccolo in a recording released in November 2020, dedicated to Giuseppe Tartini for the 250 anniversary of the death The CD includes Sonatas and Concertos by Vandini, Meneghini and Tartini performed with the Accademia dell’Annunciata. (Diapason d’OR)

Outhere partnered Mario in his life project titled “Brunello Bach Series”: a trilogy starting with a first recording dedicated to JS Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for violin, played for the first time ever on cello piccolo. The second album is devoted to the “Six sonatas for concertato harpsichord and solo violin” (BWV 1014-1019). Conceived in three parts, these famous pieces appear transfigured in a kaleidoscope of colours, in which the violoncello piccolo shares the score with harpsichord and organ, and a continuo played by viola da gamba and cello – an accompaniment specifically suggested by one of the surviving copies of the sonatas.

The trilogy concluded in 2022 with “Bach Transcriptions”, an ingenious programme of Bach Concertos for violin, played for the first time on cello piccolo. Mario Brunello will be joined by the Accademia dell’ Annunciata.

Mario Brunello continues to communicate with audiences with his richly diverse discography that includes recordings of works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Franck, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Ligeti, Cassado, Shostakovich, Vivaldi, Haydn, Chopin and Janáček, to name just a few.

The celebrated cellist’s noteworthy discography also includes the award-winning recording of Bach Cello Suites; Beethoven Triple Concerto under the baton of Claudio Abbado (Deutsche Grammophon); Dvorak Cello Concerto, conducted by Antonio Pappano (EMI), and the fascinating live performance recording of the poetic Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 2, under the baton of Valery Gergiev in the Salle Pleyel, Paris.

Brunello’s close collaboration with Kremerata Baltica has produced two impressive recordings: Tavener’s “The Protected Veil” recorded at Lockenhaus Festival a few years ago, and most recently “Searching for Ludwig” – a tribute to Beethoven recorded with Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica, pairing Beethoven’s quartets in a version for string orchestra with contemporary pieces by Léo Ferré and Giovanni Sollima.

Mario Brunello is artistic director of Arte Sella and I Suoni delle Dolomiti Festival. Since October 2020 he has been appointed as the new Artistic Director of Stresa Festival, taking over from Gianandrea Noseda.

Photo © Giulio Favotto