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Born in Milan, GIOVANNI ANTONINI studied at the Civica Scuola di Musica and at the Centre de Musique Ancienne in Geneva. Antonini is a founder-member of the Baroque ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, which he has led since 1989. With this ensemble he has appeared as conductor and soloist on recorder and Baroque transverse flute in Europe, the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, Japan, and Malaysia. He has performed with many prestigious artists, such as Christoph Prégardien, Christophe Coin, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Viktoria Mullova, and Giuliano Carmignola. His collaboration with Cecilia Bartoli for The Vivaldi Album won him a Grammy in 2000.
Antonini is a regular visitor to many festivals, including the Salzburg Easter and Whitsunday Festivals. At the latter (in 1998) he conducted the world première of F.B. Conti's oratorio Il martirio di San Lorenzo. At the Styriarte Festival in Graz he has conducted Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, Handel's Agrippina, La Resurrezione, Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, and, in April 2003, an oratorio by J.J. Fux. He has conducted Monteverdi's L'Orfeo at the Piccolo Teatro Studio in Milan and Pergolesi's La serva padrona at the Zurich Tonhalle, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon. Antonini is also a regular guest conductor of the Milan Bach Festival. Other highlights have included Handel's Acis, Galatea, e Polifemo in Vienna, Salzburg, and Salamanca, and Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto in Bolzano, Trento, and Rovigo.
Antonini is in great demand as a guest conductor, appearing with orchestras including the Camerata Salzburg, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica of Tenerife, Orquesta Sinfónica of Galicia, and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He enjoys a successful collaboration with the Kammerorchester Basel and several recordings together are planned. October 2005 saw the release of their Beethoven CD (Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2). In 2005 he also conducted the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with Viktoria Mullova to great acclaim. Antonini's CD of Vivaldi violin concertos with Mullova won the prestigious Diapason d'Or 2005 for Baroque instrumental music.
Simon Rattle invited Antonini to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic in January 2004 in works from the Classical and Baroque periods. He recently conducted the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Bremen in a Haydn program that achieved great success with the critics. Antonini returned to both the Berlin Philharmonic and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Bremen in the 2005/06 season. Other engagements included a tour with Il Giardino Armonico, and appearances with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Baselkammerorchester, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Future plans include performances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Together with Il Giardino Armonico, Antonini has recorded numerous CDs of instrumental works by Vivaldi (including The Four Seasons), other 17th- and 18th-century Italian composers, J.S. Bach (Brandenburg Concertos), Biber, and Locke for Teldec. La Casa del Diavolo for Naïve, which features works of Gluck, Bach, Locatelli, and Boccherini, was released in 2005.
Photo Credit: Melina Mulas