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Paolo Pandolfo

Paolo Pandolfo

Paolo Pandolfo is presently one of the most important musicians on the European early music scene. Widely admired as a virtuoso exponent of the viola da gamba through his concert performances and recordings of key composers from Germany, France, Spain, England and his native Italy, Paolo Pandolfo has in recent years been developing the instincts and skills for improvising and composing.

He became interested in Renaissance and Baroque music in 1979, when he founded La Stravaganza together with Rinaldo Alessandrini and Enrico Gatti. After studying at the Rome Conservatory, in 1981 he moved to Switzerland to research the world of the viola da gamba. Soon afterwards, in Basel he began a series of musical collaborations with Jordi Savall that led him to form part of Hespèrion XX, participating in a number of remarkable recordings. In 1989 he was named professor of viola da gamba at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, a position held in high esteem worldwide and previously held by August Wenzinger and Jordi Savall. Since then his teaching activity has been centred in Switzerland, where he directs, since 1992, the Ensemble di viole Labyrinto, a group that specialises in interpreting the vast and fascinating body of works for consort of viols.

Pandolfo¹s concert tours have taken him around the world and he frequently performs live, both unaccompanied and with his group Labyrinto. Since Pandolfo signed exclusively to Glossa in 1998, the year in which the label released his most popular CD, A Solo, he has the freedom to take all the time he needs to fully explore each new recording project. The following years, he was very successful with other releases, as Le Labyrinthe et autres histories, dedicated to one of the greatest French baroque composers: Marin Marais. He led to the end his plan of transcription and recording for the viola da gamba of the six suites for cello by J.S. Bach, a world première who crowned him as a virtuoso and researcher. The critics even judged this CD as an indispensable version and the specialized press awarded him the highest praises. As been mentioned by the Boston Globe << Paolo Pandolfo is the Yo-Yo Ma of the viola de gamba>>.

His concert tours as a soloist or as conductor of the Ensemble Labyrinto have become, just as his recordings, true musical events. A second cd around Marin Marais has been launched recently. His cd launched in the new Glossa series Platinum reveals his facet of composer: Travel notes. The critics in France talk about << an overwhelming achievement of sound and virtuosity >> (Jacques Amblard- Le Monde de la Musique June 2004).

Paolo Pandolfo has received important premium of musical journals like: Choc (Le Monde de la Musique), Diapason d’or (Diapason), FFF(Télérama), 5 estrellas de Goldberg.

Paolo Pandolfo builds bridges between the past and the present, bringing spontaneous and immediate life in the performance of baroque and renaissance music using medias such as improvisation, transcriptions and composition of modern pieces, being convinced that the patrimony of ancient music can be a powerful inspiration for the future of the western musical tradition.

Brief Reviews:

“… yet is the extraordinary range of colours, dynamics and emotion Pandolfo brings to the music that criticism is readily disarmed…this is a “must hear”… “

(B.Robins, Goldberg, Bach Suites)

“…one of the most brilliant and poetic of the instrument’s current exponents…”

(L.Kemp,Gramophone Editor’s Choice about A Solo)

“…Paolo Pandolfo stands alone in his generation as the master of his instrument and of a repertory that depends upon a deep affinity for its socio-historical context "

(J.Sadie, Gramophone, about Le Labyrinthe….)

“…Italian violagambist Paolo Pandolfo knocked everyone’s socks off at the last Boston Early Music Festival…”

(The Boston Phenix, Lloyd Schwartz 2003)

“….like Jazz, his music makes appeal direct to the senses…Pandolfo is a musician of touching humanity…”

(L.Kemp Gramophone 07 2004- Travel notes)

“Pandolfo is one of the world’s most imaginative musicians, both in his playing and in his programming …”

(The Boston Phoenix, Lloyd Schwartz 2003)

“…he creates the most beautiful gamba sound you’ve ever heard — a singing tone that never loses its line even when the line is decorated with an efflorescence of the most fantastic fingerings. For another, he’s an extremely expressive player. Even the most dazzling virtuosity seems interior.”

(The Boston Phoenix 2003, P.P. solo concert at BEMF)

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