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 of I Suoni delle Dolomiti Festival, Brunello has invented performances in the high peaks of the Dolomites.
Brunello’s 2017-18 season includes Schumann’s Cello Concerto with Vasily Petrenko and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, concerts with the Orchestra della Rai and a special project for music and theatre in Naples Teatro San Carlo, Palermo Teatro Massimo and Turin Teatro Regio; he returns to NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo to perform Schnittke’s First Cello Concerto and will tour in Armenia, Colombia and China. His schedule includes various concerts in the coming seasons as soloist and conductor with the Kremerata Baltica, and recitals of J.S. Bach’s complete Cello Suites and Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (the latter on cello piccolo) in Venice, Florence and Bologna. A special project about music and old master paintings is being performed at The National Gallery in London.
Mario Brunello has been invited as Guest Conductor by the Philharmonie Zuidnederlands for three years starting from 2018/19 season.
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 di Venezia and with Antonio Janigro.
Brunello’s heartfelt playing has secured engagements with such leading conductors as Antonio Pappano, Valery Gergiev, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Vladimir Jurowski, Riccardo Muti, Daniele Gatti, Manfred Honeck and Myung-Whun Chung, and concerto performances with many of the world’s foremost ensembles, from the London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestras to the NHK Symphony Tokyo, Kioi Sinfonietta, the Filarmonica della Scala and Accademia di Santa Cecilia.
Brunello has forged fruitful chamber music partnerships with Gidon Kremer, Isabelle Faust, Yuri Bashmet, Frank-Peter Zimmermann, Martha Argerich, Maurizio Pollini, Andrea Lucchesini, and the Hugo Wolf Quartet.
His all-encompassing artistic passions have generated special projects that cross genres, including collaborations with singer-songwriters Vinicio Capossela, Gianmaria Testa, writers Monia Ovadia, Stefano Benni, actor Marco Paolini, musicians like Uri Caine, Paolo Fresu and Norma Winstone.
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. He’s artistic director of Arte Sella, a unique open-air museum of natural art, and I Suoni delle Dolomiti Festival.
Brunello’s breadth of interests is reflected in his substantial discography, including works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Vivaldi, Haydn, Chopin and Janaček. 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 plays a precious Maggini cello of the early 1600.