Intermusica Artists' Management

 

 

Intermusica represents Francesco Piemontesi worldwide

Manager:
Jessica Ford

Assistant to Artist Manager:
Elena Dante

Other Links:

Francesco Piemontesi's website

Francesco Piemontesi on Twitter

Naïve Classique

Francesco Piemontesi

Piano

“His excoriating, electrifying performance of Schubert’s C minor Sonata… I loved the care and discretion Piemontesi lavished on the pedalling, so that you were never at the mercy of mere blasts of sound, but most memorable was the surge of possession that brought the finale to melting-point hysteria. This was drama and tragedy… and all from a coolly undemonstrative performer. There was a different but no less potent spirit of possession at work in his encore, a dazzlingly virtuosic and extrovert performance of [Debussy’s] ‘Feux d’artifice’…”
Classical Source, May 2014


Born in Locarno in 1983, Swiss-Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi studied with Arie Vardi before collaborating with Alfred Brendel, Cécile Ousset and Alexis Weissenberg. Since rising to international prominence with prizes at several major competitions, including the 2007 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, he has appeared at many of the world’s leading concert halls – the Vienna Musikverein, Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Berlin Philharmonie, Rome Auditorium Parco della Musica, Tonhalle Zurich – and such festivals as the BBC Proms, Lucerne, Edinburgh, Mostly Mozart New York, Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau, Klavierfest Ruhr, Aix-en-Provence Festival, La Roque d'Anthéron, and the Martha Argerich Project in Lugano. In 2012 he was announced as Artistic Director of the Settimane Musicali di Ascona.

As a concerto soloist, Francesco Piemontesi has appeared with the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, DSO and RSB Berlin, City of Birmingham Symphony, BBC Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Camerata Salzburg, and the Vienna, Zurich and Scottish Chamber Orchestras. He performed alongside such conductors as Zubin Mehta, Marek Janowski, Sir Roger Norrington, Sakari Oramo, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Vasily Petrenko, Mikhail Pletnev, David Afkham, Jiří Bělohlávek, Kazuki Yamada, Andrew Manze and Nicholas Collon.

Piemontesi has performed solo recitals in prestigious venues such as London Wigmore Hall, Rotterdam De Doelen and Tokyo Toppan Hall, and in recital series and festivals such as the London International Piano Series, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, New York Mostly Mozart Festival, Chopin Piano Festival, Milan Società del Quartetto, and Turin Concerti dell’Unione Musicale.

His strong interest in chamber music has led to many projects with a variety of partners - Yuri Bashmet, Juliane Banse, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Clemens Hagen, Angelika Kirchschlager, Heinrich Schiff, Jörg Widmann and Antoine Tamestit.

Forthcoming engagements include concerts with NHK Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Ochestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Swedish RSO, Helsinki Philharmonic, Sao Paolo Symphony and a tour with Royal Philharmonic under Charles Dutoit. He will give solo recitals at the London Southbank Centre and Wigmore Hall, Vienna and Berlin Konzerthaus, Brussels Palais des Beaux-Arts, and Berlin Philharmonic Piano Series.

Francesco Piemontesi has a number of fine recordings including Schumann Sonatas and a mixed recital of Handel, Brahms, Bach, and Liszt. He now records exclusively for Naïve Classique. His first recording was Schumann and Dvořák‘s Piano Concertos with BBC Symphony Orchestra and Jiří Bělohlávek, about which BBC Music Magazine wrote: “his performances in these two warm-hearted concertos amply display his pure-spirited, intelligent artistry”, praising his piano playing as “refulgent and refined in tone, immaculately phrased, melodies sculpted with the expressiveness of a Lieder singer”. His forthcoming recording projects will feature Mozart Sonatas and Debussy Préludes.

Francesco Piemontesi is Artistic Director of the Settimane Musicali in Ascona.

Francesco Piemontesi is represented by Intermusica.
January 2014 / 450 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.

Naïve Classique recordings:

MOZART PIANO WORKS
Fantasy in D minor K397
Sonata No.6 in D major ‘Dürnitz’ K284
Rondo in D major K485
Rondo in A minor K511
Sonata No.15 in F major K533/K494

Naïve Classique V5367
2014


SCHUMANN & DVOŘÁK
Piano Concerto in A minor Op.54
Piano Concerto in G minor Op.33 (1883 version)

BBC Symphony Orchestra
Jiří Bělohlávek, conductor

Naïve Classique 5327
2013


Previous recordings:

MARTIN       
Intégrale des Oeuvres pour Flûte              
Emmanuel Pahud, flute
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Thierry Fischer, conductor
Musiques Suisses
6275
2012
HANDEL
BRAHMS
BACH
LISZT       

Recital
Handel Suite in B flat major, HWV 434
Brahms Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op.24
Bach Partita No.1 in B flat, BWV 825
Bach Fantasy and Fugue in G minor BWV 542
transcribed for piano by Franz Liszt, R 120 SW 463
Liszt Vallée D’Obermann SW 156 R 8 from Années de Pèlerinage (première année, Suisse)
Avanti classics 1034 
2011
C.SCHUMANN
Works for Cello and Piano
Cello Sonata No.1 in G minor, Op.59
2 Konzertstucke, Op. 20
Cello Sonata No.2 in C minor, Op.99
Maria Kliegel, violoncello
Naxos 8.572314
2011
SCHUMANN
Piano Sonatas, Fantasie (2 CD)
Piano Sonata No.1 in F sharp minor ("Grosse Sonate"), Op.11
Piano Sonata No.2 in G minor, Op. 22
Piano Sonata No.3 in F minor ("Concerto Without Orchestra"), Op.14
Fantasie (Obolen auf Beethovens Monument) for piano in C major, Op.17
Claves 1003/04
2010
MOZART 
BEETHOVEN
DEBUSSY
STRAVINSKY/AGOSTI

Edition Klavierfestival Ruhr (Live recording)
Mozart Sonata No.3 in B flat major K281
Beethoven Sonata No.31 in A flat major Op.110
Debussy Trois Préludes
Stravinsky Three dances from the Firebird (transcription Guido Agosti)
Avi Classics
2008
MESSIAEN
Thème et Variations
Included in: Martha Argerich & Friends - Lugano ‘07
Alissa Margulis, violin
EMI Classics
2007

Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No.1
The night belonged to the astonishing Swiss-Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi for his dazzling and amazingly fleet performance of Mendelssohn's First Piano Concerto, one of those rare performances that reveals the mastery and genius of a composition and asks why we hear the piece so infrequently. The playing of the slow movement, which threw a spotlight on the lower strings of the SCO, was breathtakingly tender and beautiful.

And then, having stopped hearts with his own pristine, exquisite playing in the slow movement of the concerto, Piemontesi went on to break them with an encore of a slow movement from one of Schubert’s Piano Sonatas: music so simple it could be played by a capable student; music so profound it could have been uttered by a philosopher.
Michael Tumelty, The Herald, January 2013

Francesco Piemontesi played the streams of arpeggios and scale passages in the outer movements with effortless aplomb. However, his talents really came to the fore in the lyrical andante where he basked in the honeyed glow of the cello and viola accompaniment. Piemontesi then topped his own performance with Debussy’s shimmering Feux d’artifice as an encore.
Susan Nickalls, The Scotsman, January 2013

International Piano Series / Mozart, Schubert, Chopin & Debussy
“At 29, the Swiss-Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi is still at the beginning of his career, but his recitals and recordings attest an artistry which is world-class in its mature refinement. His training with the distinguished pianist Cecile Ousset is reflected in the way he moves his hands and arms with a relaxed awareness of their weight; Alfred Brendel has taught him, he says, ‘to love the detail of things’.

And it was very much in that spirit that he launched into Mozart’s early ‘Sonata in D major K 284’ at the QEH, using a light, springy touch to bring out the first movement’s orchestral variety of tone; the variations of the finale were vividly characterised.

Piemontesi has described his approach to Schubert’s sonatas as a form of cartography, and the early ‘Sonata in A minor D 537’ clearly benefited from that. He presented its first movement less as a formal structure than as a tapestry of moods, and gave the slow movement an improvisatory feel. After a finely-calibrated performance of Chopin’s ‘Barcarolle’ came Debussy’s ‘Preludes Book 2’, and there his playing took the breath away. He combined the black and white notes of ‘Brouillards’ to create soft grey tonalities, and went on to dazzle us with a wonderful range of effects in which a flawless technique was put to the service of some very original interpretations.”
Michael Church, The Independent, five stars, November 2012

“With some young pianists, native brilliance and joy in sheer digital dexterity sometimes runs ahead of musical intelligence. That’s never the case with Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi. At the age of 29 he’s already a superbly self-possessed artist. He has technique to burn, but the striking moments in this recital – and there were plenty of them – owed nothing to the “wow” factor.

That musical intelligence was already evident in the programme, which was cunningly shaped to create a sense of burgeoning amplitude. The sonatas by Mozart and Schubert that came before the interval were both seldom-played products of their composer’s youth, and though fascinating were not absolutely top-drawer works – a smart move, as it threw the focus onto Piemontesi’s artistry.

The first thing one noticed was how well matched Piemontesi’s small perfectly-formed sound was to the essentially classical frame of the music. And yet there was never any sense of deliberate “holding back”. The operatic quality in the slow movement of Mozart’s sonata was beautifully caught. You could almost hear sultry clarinets answering the curling, graceful phrases of the “voice”. In Schubert’s slow movement, Piemontesi gave the dry bass a touch of pedal, just enough to lend its martial outline a mysterious quality (Piemontesi is as much a poet of the pedals as he is of the keyboard).

After the interval came music by Chopin and Debussy, and a sudden blooming of the piano sound. Even so, Piemontesi’s performance of Chopin’s Barcarolle was restrained by many pianist’s standards, and probably too much so for some tastes. But I relished the unusual clarity of the inner parts, and the sense of release brought in the final pages, where Piemontesi seemed to finally let himself go.

Finally came the crowning glory of this recital, a complete performance of the 2nd book of Debussy’s piano Preludes. It’s often said of Debussy that he dissolved musical line into sheer colour, but as Piemontesi’s performance showed the truth is more complicated. The first piece Brouillards (Fog) is often rendered as pure mistiness, but Piemontesi gave us a sense of something solid glimpsed through the mist, which was much more interesting. Every one of the 12 pieces came up fresh, even the modest ones like Canope (Canopy) which nestled tenderly inside its opening and closing frame. Finally came Feux d’artifices (Fireworks), which whirred and crackled and finally erupted with a frenzied energy, in a way I’ve never heard equalled.”
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, five stars, November 2012

Deutsche Radio Philharmonie / Mozart Piano Concerto, K503
“Francesco Piemontesi performed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's piano concerto in C major K503 with grace and delicacy. He let his part sparkle with airy “jeu perlé” and brought a great sense of fun to the cadenza (quoting the Marseilleise alongside the concerto’s main themes)..... As an encore he played a minuet by Handel with a cultured and exquisite touch.”
Saarbruecker Zeitung, November 2012

Ravel Piano Concerto in G major / Orchestre National de Lille / cond. Jean-Claude Casadesus
“One is struck by the constant rhythmic subtlety and technique of pianist Francesco Piemontesi. There is lyrical grace, elegance, clarity and magnitude in his playing. We’re challenged and captivated at the same time, and that is the signature of a great artist.”
Nord éclair, June 2012

Mozart / Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale with Zubin Mehta
"In Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C major K503 Francesco Piemontesi proved to be a subtle, technically brilliant pianist with the clearest articulation. The orchestra played in wonderful balance with the pianist and the first piano solo developed out of the long orchestral exposition in an almost improvisational manner…Mehta was devoted to the orchestra and the soloist in equal measure thus creating a fantastic unity. This was Mozart performed with the greatest maturity but also lightness. Piemontesi’s encore, the finale of Stravinsky’s Firebird in the arrangement for piano solo showed once again the virtuoso brilliance of the young talent."
Luzerner Zeitung, November 2011

"Two opposites met in Mozart’s Piano Concerto K503: On the one hand Mehta, the grandseigneur: confident and poised. On the other hand the young Swiss pianist Francesco Piemontesi: modest but with a youthful charm. The astonishing result: an organically flowing Mozart, because Piemontesi spun out the complex lines with a graceful, beautiful sound. But far from dwelling in this beautiful sound in a narcissistic way, he adeptly and delicately integrated it into the web of orchestral voices. This Mozart was one of great subtlety. It sounded not reduced, not augmented, not indulgent, but instead radiant and natural."
Tages-Anzeiger, November 2011

"Francesco Piemontesi performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 K503 in a transparent way, using the pedal sparingly and creating beautifully effervescent runs while Mehta reins in the orchestra ensuring the balance with the piano. It quickly became apparent what this young pianist is capable of."
Der Bund, November 2011

"Right from the start of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C major K503 Piemontesi was wholly engrossed in the music, soundlessly imitating the orchestral exposition on the keyboard before starting his solo with a crystalline light touch, making every run sparkle while at the same time giving them structure – a combination of superlative technique and extraordinary taste. Everything was given fresh colouring and his performance featured playing of the softest and most personal manner. This allowed Piemontesi to also bring out the dark powers in the Andante, while he kept a tight rein in the Allegretto in order to highlight every nuance... Mehta and Piemontesi created a refreshingly lively Mozart."
Neue Zuercher Zeitung, November 2011

Frankfurt / Mozart, Debussy, Liszt & Schubert
“Every aspect of this most impressive recital demonstrated the remarkable abilities of this young musician…his wide range of expression, combined with his technical brilliance, confident sense of style and clearly structured dynamic phrasing….Piemontesi once again gave a commanding performance, excelling in every last detail; his interpretation of the closing rondo [of Schubert’s piano sonata no.20 in A major D.959] had an almost poetic force.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 2011

Handel, Brahms, Bach & Liszt (avanticlassic)
“a musician of rare intelligence”
Sunday Times, August 2011

“Clarity of thought is complemented by clarity of touch, incisive intellect by a good dose of fantasy.”
BBC Music Magazine, August 2011

“composer wins over ego, musical integrity over flashiness, tireless preparation over hopeful inspiration….This pianist reveals a powerful gift of intimacy. You have to stop and listen.”
The Observer, August 2011

“Piemontesi will soon be regarded as one of the great pianists of our time. He plays with phenomenal appreciation of sound, sophisticated technique and high intelligence – all of which point towards a brilliant career…”
Radio Bremen, August 2011

“an impressive recital with musicality in abundance”
Pianist, August 2011

“The young Swiss-Italian Francesco Piemontesi combines communicative panache with remarkable insight. He prefaces a virile, sensitive performance of Brahms’s Handel Variations with a stylistically discerning one of the Handel suite from which Brahms took his theme. Bach’s Partita No1, Liszt’s transcription of the G minor Fantasy and Fugue and Vallée d’Obermann provide further evidence of Piemontesi’s exceptional talent.“
The Telegraph, August 2011

“The name of this young Swiss pianist was unknown to us. But this record, intelligently constructed, which combines the works of Brahms and Liszt to their direct sources in Bach and Handel, gives us a great desire to learn more. Intelligence, refinement, elegance of tone, as well as complete clarity of polyphony are all characteristic of this musician, born in 1983. This is particularly beneficial in Brahms’ Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, which is superbly interpreted.”
Le Monde, June 2011

“Franceso Piemontesi's latest recital disc confirms the fine impression left by his set of Schumann's piano sonatas released by Claves last year. There's a real aristocratic sweep to this 27-year-old Swiss pianist's playing; the Handel suite is generously expressive, while Piemontesi's account of the Brahms Variations themselves is full of delicacy and transparent textures that make you hang on every phrase. Liszt's transcription of Bach's G minor Fantasy and Fugue makes the neat link between the first partita and the extract from the first book of the Années de Pèlerinage. Piemontesi's unaffected Bach playing is recognisably all of a piece with his fundamentally unflamboyant approach to Liszt, which manages to present the rhetorical grandeur of Vallée d'Obermann truthfully, without exaggerating it in any way.”
The Guardian, June 2011

City of London Festival / Chopin, Debussy & Schumann
“There were many poetic insights here, from the surging romanticism of the opening to the beautiful lyricism of its successor … and its sudden departures to faster music were always tempered by the calm of the romance to which it returned. Piemontesi proved extremely adept at proceeding between moments of urgency and repose. The fifth piece, marked Sehr lebhaft, moved with particular intent. As so often with Kreisleriana, it was the last section that carried the greatest emotional weight, its strangely haunting theme like a restless butterfly. Piemontesi caught the essence of this quite beautifully and allowing silence to complete the performance. As an encore Piemontesi stayed with Schumann, the finale of Kinderszenen, ‘Der Dichter spricht’, which displayed the pianist’s poise and grace.”
Classical Source, July 2011

Handel / Brahms, Bach & Liszt (avanticlassic)
“The name of this young Swiss pianist was unknown to us. But this record, intelligently constructed, which combines the works of Brahms and Liszt to their direct sources in Bach and Handel, gives us a great desire to learn more. Intelligence, refinement, elegance of tone, as well as complete clarity of polyphony are all characteristic of this musician, born in 1983. This is particularly beneficial in Brahms’ Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, which is superbly interpreted.”
Le Monde, June 2011

Wigmore Hall / Janáček, Beethoven & Stravinksy (arr. Agosti)
“Piemontesi brilliantly caught the Beethoven’s Sonata in A Opus 101’s obliquely poetic character, with a pervasively warm cantabile in the first movement, a velvet-pawed second-movement march, and a muscular fugue in the finale. Concluding with Guido Agosti’s flamboyant arrangement of three movements of Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird Suite’, and giving as an encore an exquisitely ornamented Handel minuet, this young Swiss virtuoso forcefully reminded us why his country is so proud of him.”
Michael Church, The Independent, December 2010

Schumann Piano Sonatas Nos.1-3 and Fantasy in C major (Claves)
“His playing is intelligent and refined, and he commands a prodigious range of keyboard touch and colour, combined with remarkable powers of articulation... Piemontesi’s playing is always a delight.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, August 2010

BBC Proms Recital / Debussy & Schumann
“They (Francesco Piemontesi and the Navarra Quartet) launched into Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat major with such assurance that they might have been collaborating for years... Piemontesi and the Navarras gave it the requisite declamatory spaciousness from the start. As with Schumann’s piano concerto proper, this work involves constant dialogue between soloist and ensemble: with Piemontesi leading the way, they made a thrilling journey through an emotional landscape by turns sweet, spooky, throbbingly combustible, and liberatingly joyous...Piemontesi – one of the BBC’s New Generation artists – is a brand-leader for Debussy: using a completely different palette from the one he revealed in the Schumann, he gave a series of preludes the most exquisitely translucent characterisation.”
Michael Church, The Independent, July 2010

City of London Festival Recital / Bach, Tognetti & Schumann
“In Bach's 1st Partita, Piemontesi's tender moulding of the phrases and meditative tempos gave the impression of a musing, introverted performer. But later he slipped in witty moments of improvised ornamentation, which hinted at something potentially wild in this studious-looking young man.

In Schumann's eccentric, Spanish-tinged 1st sonata, it burst out again with full force. Here Piemontesi seemed a different man, throwing off Schumann's Scherzo at breakneck speed, injecting an ostentatious swagger into the theatrical episodes, and making the twist and turns of the finale seem both disturbingly weird and completely necessary.”
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, July 2010

Further reviews:

"This extraordinary pianist's performance was emblematic of his entire program. Mr. Piemontesi is absolutely fearless. His programm started and ended with the familiar (Mozart and Chopin). But in between were works that were unfamiliar, technically challenging, and which could have been tossed off with the confident lightness of genius. That, though, is hardly the way Mr. Piemontesi works. In fact, the inner passionate voices which he obviously feels are transported directly to his piano, with no barriers for the audience. The two-movement Janácek, rescued from the river, gave clear evidence of the pianist's emotional mentality. And while Jancèek may have thought the Sonata unworthy (he threw it into the Danube), when played by Piemontesi, this writer—and I daresay most of the Weill Hall audience—was mesmerized. While Stravinsky made several piano versions of his ballets, the Firebird, arranged by a student of Busoni, was new, and breathtaking. By the finale, I was listening to voices which I'd never heard in the orchestra (and checked with my orchestral score later that they really were there).

The next two works were a fairly well known Prelude by Henri Dutilleux and a world premiere. The Dutilleux became a series of mirrors and resonances, themes peeping out from the digital roughage, hiding, darting in reverse a minute later. The world premiere by Eric Tanguy was a Toccata, a terrific showpiece which had the right musician to show it.Finally was Chopin's Third Sonata, starting with a most majestic opening, and a wonderful finale again with those bass melodies sometimes leading on the whizzing top notes. The Scherzo, though, was most memorable, the fingers glistening over the key, but leaving as much room for the poetry as the panache.”
Concerto, January 2009

“From the beginning he played Mozart's B flat Sonata with boundless energy and understanding of rhetoric. Piemontesi chose to continue the program with Beethoven's late piano sonata in A flat major, opus 110, which presents several technical difficulties in both slow movements and in the final fugue. And what command Piemontesi displayed, how impressive his singing tone right at the beginning of the sonata. After the interval three Preludes of Debussy, glorious play of colour, quiet and thoughtful brooding juxtaposed against powerful explosions of sound. Then three dances from Stravinsky's Firebird, which Piemontesi executed with not only strictness of form, but also with picturesque, declamatory pianism.

On his birthday he gave himself and his listeners the most beautiful gift. Without a doubt a happy choice by the direction of the Festival."
Fono Forum, April 2008

"Piemontesi left an immaculate impression. His satin-like touch in Mozart's third B flat sonata created a light and brilliant flow. He approaches the demanding first movement of Beethoven's A flat sonata with restraint and lightness, reminiscent of Mozart; he convinces the listener in the forward-driving chordal passages of the fast movements by his pianistic mastery. Similarly virtuosic and rhythmic, he mastered Stravinsky's Three Dances from The Firebird."
Nord-Rhein-Zeitung, July 2007

"Now and again miracles happen and a small musical miracle took place on Friday evening. In the great hall of the Saarlandischer Rundfunk the 37 year old Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård swung the baton joyfully and the 23 year old Swiss Italian Francesco Piemontesi dived with devotion into the sound cascades of Grieg's piano concerto. With a brilliant technique he employed the entire breadth of atmosphere, from sheer power to sensitive, refined lyricism."
Saarbrücker Zeitung, June 2006

Documents

Francesco Piemontesi - Emerging Artist Download
Francesco Piemontesi biography Download
Francesco Piemontesi press quotes Download

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