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Italian-born pianist/conductor MARINO FORMENTI has distinguished himself as a compelling and original interpreter of modern and contemporary music in unusual and experimental concert formats. In projects such as “Kurtág’s Ghosts,” “The Party,” “Piano Trips,” and “Seven Last Words,” Formenti reveals striking new interpretations of old works, performing them in context with contemporary music.
He has appeared at the international festivals of Salzburg, Lucerne, Edinburgh, Schleswig-Holstein, Ravinia, and Aspen as well as the great concert halls of Berlin, Vienna, Cologne, Paris, Tokyo, Zurich, Moscow, Rome, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, where he presented a three-concert cycle, “Piano Trips,” for Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series.
Orchestra engagements have included the Cleveland Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Orchestre de la Suiss Romande, and major European radio orchestras, with conductors including Franz Welser-Möst, Kent Nagano, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Ingo Metzmacher, and Sylvain Cambreling. He has also collaborated with fellow musicians such as Gidon Kremer, Ulrich Matthes, Maurizio Pollini, and Lars Vogt.
In the 2009/10 season Formenti plays the Lou Harrison Piano Concerto with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, following his 2008 debut performing Messiaen’s From the Canyons to the Stars with Esa-Pekka Salonen. He plays Kurtág and Mozart with Daniel Harding and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at the Salzburg Mozartwoche and at the Philharmonie in Cologne, and the Alban Berg Chamber Concerto for Piano and Violin with Klangforum Wien, led by Sylvain Cambreling. Formenti presents “Kurtág’s Ghosts” at the Vienna Konzerthaus, at Peak Performances at Montclair State University, and as artist-in-residence at the Weimar Festival, where he also performed works of Luigi Nono with Stephen Asbury. In a return engagement for San Francisco Performances, he presents “Aspects of the Divine,” a cycle featuring Haydn and Bernhard Lang’s Seven Last Words and Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jésus. He also performs the “Seven Last Words” program at the Hitzacker Festival and in Graz, Austria.
As conductor, Formenti has assisted Kent Nagano and Sylvain Cambreling and led ensembles in Los Angeles (Monday Evening Concerts), at the Vienna Konzerthaus, at the Ravenna Festival, and in works of Luigi Nono for the Maurizio Pollini Projects in Paris, Milan, and Rome. He conducted the Austrian premiere of Kurt Weill’s opera Der Protagonist and was the guest music director for South Africa’s MIAGI (Music Is A Great Investment) Festival Orchestra, leading repertoire including Dvorák’s “New World” Symphony in Cape Town and on tour to Berlin.
Formenti has worked with some of the world’s greatest living composers, among them Helmut Lachenmann, György Kurtág, Salvatore Sciarrino, Olga Neuwirth, Beat Furrer, and Bernhard Lang, who recently contributed new work for the “Seven Last Words” project.
In 2009 Marino Formenti was awarded the Belmont Prize for contemporary music by the Forberg-Schneider Foundation. He has recorded for Kairos, col legno, and BIS. His most recent recording, a two-CD set of “Kurtág’s Ghosts,” is now available on Kairos.