Heralded by the German press as «one of the most important musicians to have come out of Italy in the last three decades», Sandro Ivo Bartoli is a virtuoso pianist whose sumptuous playing has captivated audiences all over the world. A graduate of the Florence State Conservatory and the Royal Academy of Music in London, he collaborated privately with Russian piano legend Shura Cherkassky, who was instrumental in the beginning of his international career. In the early 1990s, with Cherkassky’s encouragement, Mr Bartoli began to rediscover the Italian piano literature of the early twentieth century, soon establishing a trend and becoming its leading interpreter world-wide. In addition to the concertos of Casella, Malipiero, Pizzetti and Petrassi, in 1995 he gave the first modern performance in the United States of Respighi’s Toccata for piano and orchestra in an historic concert that was broadcast by PBS in the series ‘Great Performances’. In Europe, he toured extensively with orchestras such as The Philharmonia, the Hallé, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the stockholm String Ensembles and the Max-Bruch Philharmonie, working with conductors such as Peter Stangel, Nicolae Moldoveanu, Michele Carulli, Simon Wright, Vladimir Lande and Gianluigi Zampieri among others.
Mr Bartoli’s playing has been praised for the kaleidoscopic range of its tone colour and its breath-taking virtuosity, attributes that he brings also to the better known repertoire of the classical and romantic eras such as the concertos of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Franck, Rachmaninov, Shostakovitch and Tchajkovskij. Notable solo appearances include concerts at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, at the Gasteig in Munich (where he performed alongside such giants as Martha Argerich and Rodion Shchedrin), and at the Festival d’Avignon, Brighton Festival, Grieg Festival in Bergen, and the GAMO Festival of contemporary music in Florence.
Recent engagements have included Rachmaninov’s Second Concerto in Dresden, Liszt’s Malédiction concerto in Munich, Chopin’s Second Concerto in Grosseto, Mozart’s ‘Jeunehomme’ Concerto in Milan, as well as appearances on Radio Nacional Clàsica Argentina, Radio Nacional Española, the Icelandic Radio, and Radio Muzical Romania in a huge active repertoire that has seen Mr Bartoli perform no less than ten piano concertos and over seven hours of solo music in the 2012-2013 season alone. His discography comprises the complete concertos of Gian Francesco Malipiero with the Radio Orchestra of Saarbrücken (CPO, winner of the Diapason d’Or/Découverte in 2008), works for piano and orchestra of Ottorino Respighi with the State Orchestra of Saxony (Brilliant Classics, 2011), the First Piano Concerto of Erik Lotichius with the Academic Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg (Navona, 2013), and solo albums devoted to the music of Alfredo Casella, Gian Francesco Malipiero, Percy Grainger, Frédéryk Chopin, Ferruccio Busoni, and ‘The Frescobaldi Legacy’ (Brilliant Classics, 5 de Diapason, 2013). In 2014, Brilliant Classics released Mr Bartoli’s complete recording of the Bach-Busoni transcriptions to wide critical acclaim, while his recording of Franz Liszt’s Franciscan Works (Solaire, 2015) has been heralded as a reference recording by the international press.
Mr Bartoli is the protagonist of two documentary films, ‘Mood Indigo’ (Nu Films, Amsterdam, 2013) and ‘Pianiste-Interpréte’ (Salto Films, Paris, 2014). For his outstanding work in the Arts, the City of Turin has awarded him the Gina Rosso Prize. He lives in his native Tuscany.