Giovanni Bellucci, pianist

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G bellucci irmeli jung©Irmeli Jung

Giovanni Bellucci is considered one of the most influential pianists of our time. His recording of Franz Liszt’s Paraphrases on Verdi and Bellini operas was included in Diapason magazine’s selection of the all-time Top Ten Liszt recordings in history. The famous music critic Alain Lompech only took into consideration artists, other than Bellucci, such as Martha Argerich, Claudio Arrau, Aldo Ciccolini, Gyorgy Cziffra, Wilhelm Kempff and Krystian Zimerman.
Diapason’s award must be added to the acknowledgement the Italian artist gained from the most prestigious journals. All his CDs have been rewarded: “Choc de l’année” by Classica-Répertoire, 5 stars by Diapason, “ffff” by Télérama, “Choc” by Le Monde de la Musique, “CD exceptionnel” by Répertoire, “CD Maestro” by Pianiste in France, “Editor’s choice” by the British Gramophone, 5 stars by Musica, 5 stars by the BBC Music Magazine, and “Best CD” by the magazine Suono.
“There are no other ten pianists like him in the world. He takes us back to the golden age of the piano,” wrote Le Monde, highlighting Bellucci’s success in the 1996 World Piano Masters Competition in Monte-Carlo – the last in a lengthy series of successes in international competitions (from the “Queen Elizabeth” in Brussels to the “Prague Spring”, from the “Casella” of RAI in Naples to the “C. Kahn” in Paris, from the “Busoni” in Bolzano to the “Liszt” award).
Bellucci is a real force of nature. A force that is vast and palpitating, never brutal or mechanical.” These words by Piero Rattalino referred to his performance of Liszt’s monumental piano transcription of organ works, and exactly described the musical talent emerging in 1979, when the fourteen year-old Giovanni Bellucci accidentally discovered the piano. Two years later – on the occasion of his first public concert – he performed Liszt’s Totentanz for piano and orchestra. At the age of twenty he passed his degree summa cum laude and with honourable mention at the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia by performing Beethoven’s Grosse Sonate für das Hammerklavier and Liszt’s Sonata in B minor.
He was invited by the great Russian pianist Lazar Berman — who in 1991 stated “Bellucci is one of the greatest talent I have ever heard… through his phenomenal virtuosity he reaches a highly innovative musical discourse” — to improve his study at the Accademia Pianistica in Imola. Afterwards he met artists such as Badura-Skoda, Brendel, Perahia and Pollini.
Living in Paris he began an intensive concert activity, performing both as soloist and with orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Sydney Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Russian Philharmonic, Sinfonica dell’Accademia Nazionale di S.Cecilia, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Orchestre National de Belgique, Philharmonique de Liège, Orchestre National d’Ile-de-France, Orchestre National de Lille, Royal Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra Antwerp, Orchestre National de Montpellier, Sinfonia Varsovia, Orchestra della Radio Svizzera di Lugano, Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Nationaltheater-Orchester Mannheim,Virtuosi di Praga, Czech
Chamber Philharmonic, Zürcher Kammerorchester, Orchestra Fondazione Arena di Verona, Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino, etc.
He also cooperated with conductors and artists such as Abbado, Accardo, Altinoglu, Bartholomée, Bender, Caracciolo, Casadesus, Caussé, Cohen, Collins, Coppey, Demarquette, Dumay, Engerer, Entremont, Huster, Fasolis, Fossey, Giannini, Griffiths, Inbal, Kashimoto, Kashkashian, Kavakos, Kniazev, Koering, Latham-Koenig, Laforet, Layer, Litton, Mackerras, Meyer, Pidò, Pommier, Quarta, C. Rizzi, V. Sokolov, Suwanai, Tang, Ughi, Wit.
Giovanni Bellucci has been invited to perform in the most famous auditoriums, traditional theatres and the best music festivals in the world: the Hollywood Bowl, which saw his American debut in front of a crowd of 18,000, the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein, the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Svetlanov Concert Hall in Moscow, the Herkulessaal in Munich (where he also received the German press prize for the best season artistic event), the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Firkusny Piano Festival in Prague, the Newport Festival (U.S.A.), the Yokohama Festival, the Singapore Piano Festival, the Sydney Opera House, Bath, La Roque d’Anthéron, Nohant, Besançon, Menton, the Festival Radio-France et Montpellier, Marseille, Aix–en-Provence, Lyon, Folle journée in Nantes, Philharmonique de Bruxelles, Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, Radio Helsinki, Festival “Michelangeli” di Brescia e Bergamo, Ravello Festival, Bologna Festival, Settembre Musica in Torino, Teatro alla Scala in Milano, Teatro La Fenice in Venezia, Teatro C. Felice in Genova, Teatro Bellini in Catania, Teatro Farnese and Teatro Regio in Parma, Opera di Roma and all concert halls in Paris (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Cité de la Musique, Salle Pleyel, Auditorium du Louvre, Salle Messiaen de Radio-France, Salle Gaveau, Théâtre du Châtelet).
A concert held in the Sydney City Recital Hall, where he performed the Berlioz/Liszt Symphonie Fantastique, was named “Recital of the year” as the best Australian Chamber Concert of the season by the Sydney Morning Herald. The Italian artist has been awarded the “Liszt Lifetime Achievement Prize”" by the Ferenc Liszt International Society
On the occasion of Shakespeare 2016, Giovanni Bellucci conceived an unusual recital performed in various European countries: the major monologues of the Bard of Avon — played by famous actors like Giancarlo Giannini and Francis Huster – are followed by the piano compositions inspired by them, an engaging repertoire ranging from the 16th-century virginalist William Byrd to 20th-century Prokofiev. On October 13th, 2015 this amazing recital was filmed in the beautiful Teatro Farnese in Parma and Sky television network has just acquired exclusive broadcasting rights.
Other major recent artistic engagements include the performance of the 32 Beethoven Sonatas in 8 recitals (Teatro Politeama in Palermo), the 19 Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies in Paris (two memorable concerts broadcast live by Radio France at the Auditorium du Louvre), the 9 Beethoven/Liszt Symphonies in five concerts at the Auditorium Belém in Lisbon, the 5 Beethoven Concertos performed in two evenings with the Sinfonie Orchester Biel Solothurn, Busoni’s complete works for piano and orchestra performed with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai and the Nationaltheater-Orchester Mannheim.
Giovanni Bellucci performed his own piano transcription of Fryderyk Chopin’s Concerto no.1 op.11 (Concert sans orchestre) at the Festivals of Nohant (France ) and Husum (Germany), as well as the Symphonie Fantastique and Harold en Italie by Berlioz/Liszt at the Wettingen Festival (with Gérard Caussé). Also worth mentioning are his piano recital at the prestigious Wagner-Festival in Geneva on the occasion of Wagner’s 200th birthday, the recording of the complete Alkan Chamber Piano Concertos (published by Brilliant Classics) and, following his meticulous, broad study of Beethoven’s opera omnia, the release of the first volume of the cycle devoted to the complete 32 Sonatas and 9 Beethoven/Liszt Symphonies (Brilliant Classics).
The composers Koering , Perez-Ramirez , Campogrande have dedicated some of their works to Giovanni Bellucci, who also premiered in Italy (Parco della Musica in Roma) H.W. Henze’s “Requiem, Nine Concertos for Piano and Chamber Orchestra” accompanied by the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
Giovanni Bellucci is a passionate teacher: in 2015-16 he directed the first High Virtuosity “Liszt Master” (Second Level Master Course in Piano) at the Conservatorio G. Verdi in Milano, which also included eminent guest teachers such as Alfred Brendel, Michele Campanella, Piero Rattalino and Alan Walker. He has held masterclasses in Paris, Lugano, Biel, Sydney, Rome, Milan, Trento, Avellino, Potenza. He has directed the Académie des jeunes virtuoses at the Festival “Lisztomanias” in Châteauroux for ten years.
Giovanni Bellucci has been invited to take part in the jury of some of the most important international piano competitions: Prague Spring Competition, Prix Cortot in Paris, Piano Masters Competition in Monte-Carlo, Premio Viotti in Vercelli, Chopin Competition in Darmstadt, etc.
Giovanni Bellucci has recorded for Decca (Berlioz/Liszt, Symphonie Fantastique), Accord-Universal (the complete Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies, the Romanian Rhapsody and various Liszt/Wagner transcriptions, the Totentanz and Liszt’s Concerto No.1; the very rare Chopin Concerto No.1 in the unedited Tausig version, the 6 Polish Songs transcribed by Liszt, the Sonate de Requiem by Olivier Greif), Warner Classic & Jazz (Liszt Paraphrases on operas by Bellini and Verdi, Beethoven/Liszt Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7, Beethoven “Hammerklavier”, “Moonlight”, “Pathétique” and “Tempest” Sonatas), Assai (Liszt/Busoni Fantasie and Fugue on “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam”) etc.
Media such as Mezzo, ARTE, BBC Radio, France 3, France Musique, ZDF Television, ABC Australian Radio, Radiotre RAI, Radio Svizzera Italiana, Radio Vaticana, Sky Classica, Coming Soon (Cinevip), Il Giornale della Musica, Le Monde de la Musique, Suono, Musica, celebrate Bellucci’s artistic projects. On October 2015 the French magazine Pianiste deals extensively with Giovanni Bellucci’s reflections on Beethoven’s creative genius — an unpredictable genius according to the pianist: "Beethoven’s creative process is fascinating. And even more so is the vertiginous acceleration of the evolution of his musical syntax. It has led to countless high profile studies aiming to solve the mystery of his genius. There has also been an attempt to restore the Tenth Symphony from a few original bars left by the composer. A catastrophic venture, to tell the truth. Why? Because genius is unpredictable. Any analysis claiming to find out the secret method of artistic creation is a fruitless quest.”
International media have become familiar with the Italian artist's personality: “Giovanni Bellucci’s philosophy extols a true humanism, stemming from a broad reflection on art and creation. The mission and duty of this musician, who seems to have been born under the sign of grace, allow to outline a kind of new example for future generations – one who conveys values of beauty and kindness through his art to those who have lost faith in a world without transcendence” (Editions Salvator).