Paolo Restani showed his prodigious capabilities already in his first recital at the age of 12. In 1984, invited for a cycle of recitals at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome by the great artistic director Francesco Siciliani, gained an extraordinary success asserted by the most prestigious press: He has already won his place in our home great piano tradition (Alfredo Gasponi, Il Messaggero), At Santa Cecilia a star is born (Mya Tannenbaum, Corriere della Sera), Sixteen years old but you don’t believe it: Paolo Restani, who appeared yesterday evening at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, is actually shocking (Ivana Musani, Paese Sera).
Since then engagements with the most prestigious theatres in Italy followed on. Among the many successes of those years, memorable the concert at Sala Verdi in Milan for the Serate Musicali: in January 1988, invited to replace Alexis Weissenberg in few hours notice, he performed a programme including Beethoven’s Eroica Variations and Liszt’s 12 Etudes d’Exécution Transcendante.
During his thirty-five years career, he has given concerts in many of the most important musical venues in the world, distinguishing himself by his own very personal, continuously ripening interpretative manner. His technical mastery and his depth reading in rendering every minor detail of a score, make him an excellent performer especially in the Romantic repertoire where his virtuoso skills are a naturally reminiscent of the greatest names of the piano-playing tradition: … in his interpretation of Chopin’s compositions, his affinity with Vladimir Horowitz is quite surprising in relation to timbre, richness of colour and clarity of the melody (Allgemeine Zeitung after a recital in Frankfurt in 1996).
In June 2004 his debut with Orchestra Filarmonica del Teatro alla Scala conducted by Riccardo Muti (Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto) was unanimously and enthusiastically acclaimed.
In addition, still under Muti's direction in 2008, he is soloist in the symphonic production of Lélio ou Le Retour à la Vie op. 14b by Berlioz, together with Gérard Depardieu (as narrator), Mario Zeffiri (tenor), the Orchestra Luigi Cherubini, the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana and the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor.
Recitals of the recent seasons include the following events: Carnegie Hall in New York, Grosser Musikvereinsaal in Vienna, Konzerthaus in Berlin, Prinzregententheater in Münich, Rheingoldhalle in Mainz, New Congress-Hall in Innsbruck, International Performing Arts Centre in Moscow, Great Hall of the Philharmonic in St. Petersburg, Colon and Coliseo Theatres in Buenos Aires, London, Brussels, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Beirut, Santiago in Chile, Montevideo, Dubai.
In Italy: Milan (Teatro alla Scala, Auditorium La Verdi), Rome (Quirinale, Auditorium del Parco della Musica, Teatro dell’Opera, Auditorium di Via della Conciliazione, Teatro Sistina), Neaple (Teatro San Carlo, Teatro Augusteo, Politeama), Venice (Teatro La Fenice), Trieste (Teatro Verdi), Verona (Arena), Bologna (Teatro Comunale), Florence (Teatro Comunale, Teatro della Pergola), Turin (Teatro Regio, Auditorium RAI), Bari (Teatro Petruzzelli), Genoa (Teatro Carlo Felice), Palermo (Politeama).
Prestigious musical festivals, where he is regularly invited, include: Flanders Festival, Martha Argerich Festival in Buenos Aires, London Hatchlands Music Festival, Istanbul Recitals, Al Bustan Festival in Beirut, Ljubljana Festival, Jornadas Internacionales de Piano in Oviedo, Asturias Festival, Ravenna Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Settembre Musica in Turin, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli International Piano Festival in Brescia and Bergamo, Festival Verdi in Parma, Festival Uto Ughi per Roma, Panatenee Pompeiane, Festival Romaeuropa, Todi Arte Festival, Ravello Festival.
In January 2008, invited by Yuri Temirkanov, he takes part in the “XVII International Festival Christmas musical meeting in Palmira of the North” in St. Petersburg.
Great is his popularity in South-America where he is present every year. The “Association of Argentina Critics” awards him in 2005 as the best interpreter of the year and in 2011 for his concerts with the Quartetto d’archi della Scala, as the best ensemble.
He was soloist with orchestras such as Münchner Symphoniker, Berliner Symphoniker, Neue Philharmonie Westfalen, St. Petersburg Academic Symphony, Philarmonique de Nice, Slovenia RTV, Sinfonica Nacional de Chile, Kiev Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker String Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Milan, Rome and Neaple RAI National Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra del Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino, Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra dell’Arena di Verona, Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, Orchestra del Teatro Verdi di Trieste, Orchestra Sinfonica Arturo Toscanini di Parma.
Among the conductors: Roberto Abbado, Gerd Albrecht, Piero Bellugi, Christian Benda, Yoram David, Vladimir Delman, Claus Peter Flor, Heiko Mathias Forster, Lu Jia, Lothar Koenigs, Gerard Korsten, Julian Kavatchev, Gustav Kuhn, Yoel Levi, John Nelson, John Neschling, Gunter Neuhold, Daniel Oren, Massimo Pradella, Donato Renzetti.
Very keen on chamber music, he played with the Quartetto d’archi della Scala, the Quartetto Fonè, the Quartetto David, the Solisti della Scala, the violist Simonide Braconi, the cellist Andrea Noferini and accompanied, in song cycles, Monica Bacelli, Guillemette Laurens and Claire Brua.
A versatile musician and fully aware of the possible integration among various art forms, he has played as co-protagonist in theatrical productions accompanying artists such as Gérard Depardieu, Enrico Maria Salerno, Mariano Rigillo, Gottfried Wagner, Carla Fracci, Sylvie Guillelme, Laurent Hilaire.
Particularly with Chiara Muti from 2006 to 2008 he created three original musical plays on Rachmaninov-Gogol, on the life of Mozart, and on the Wagner-Ludwig II relationship. From 2013 he is near Simona Marchini in the pièce devoted to Verdi, still on the Italian stages.
His extensive repertoire ranges from Bach to present-day composers, and includes more than 60 concertos for piano and orchestra and a same number of solo-recital programmes.
His preference for the masterworks of the Romantic Period and the 19th century brings him to face the entire works for piano by Brahms, most of the Chopin, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninov’s compositions, the complete Chopin, Scriabin and Liszt’s Études (his own performances of the 12 Etudes d’Exécution Trascendante are more than 150), and the complete works for piano and orchestra by Beethoven, Field, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns and Casella.
It is to be pointed out his devotion to the Liszt’s works which he is to be considered being one of the major interpreters of.
His collaboration with Michael Nyman led to the first Italian performance of The Piano Concerto for piano and orchestra, taken from the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film The Piano Lesson by Jane Campion.
Paolo Restani was the last and best-loved piano-pupil of Vincenzo Vitale (a renowned representative of the Neaple piano-school, who underwent piano-studies with Florestano Rossomandi, Attilio Brugnoli and, in the end, with Alfred Cortot at École Normale de Musique de Paris).
In the following, Paolo Restani’s teachers were Gerhard Oppitz (a successor of the interpretative art of Wilhelm Kempff) at Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich and Peter Lang at Mozarteum in Salzburg. In addition he attended piano-lessons under Gustav Kuhn, Piero Rattalino, Aldo Ciccolini and Vadimir Ahskenazy.
He studied composition with Paolo Arcà in Rome and Bruno Bettinelli in Milan.
Main CD recordings and DVD:
. Liszt - Totentanz for piano and orchestra, European Philharmonic Orchestra conductor
Peter Jan Marthé (Polyglobe-1997)
. Liszt – 12 Etudes d’Exécution Transcendante and Concert Etude (Amadeus-2004)
. Rachmaninov - Eighteen Preludes (Amadeus-2008)
. Casella – Scarlattiana op. 44, Triplo Concerto op. 56, A notte alta op. 30b for piano and
orchestra, Orchestra “Filarmonica ‘900” del Teatro Regio di Torino conductor Marzio Conti (Brilliant
. Brahms, Godowski, Scriabin, Saint-Saëns, Bartok, Liszt, Sancan - Music for the Left Hand
. Berlioz - Lélio ou Le Retour à la vie op. 14b, conductor Riccardo Muti, Orchestra Luigi Cherubini,
Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, narrator Gérard
Depardieu, tenor Mario Zeffìri (CD & DVD Gruppo Editoriale l’Epresso-2009)
. Field – The seven Concertos for piano and orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice
conductor Marco Guidarini (4 CD Brilliant Classics-2009)
. Brahms - Variations on a Theme by Paganini op. 35, Variations from String Sextet op. 18, Five
. Rachmaninov – Six Preludes, Trancriptions, Sonata no. 2 op. 36 (Amadeus-2010)
. Brahms - Piano Quintet op. 34, Schumann - Piano Quintet op. 44 Quartetto d’archi della
. Brahms – Handel Variations op. 24, Variations on a Theme by Schumann op. 9, Variations on an
Original Theme op. 21 no. 1, Variations on a Hungarian Song op. 21 no. 2, Etude from Schubert’s
Impromptu op. 90 no. 2 (DECCA-2011)
His interpretations are included by Deutsche Grammophon in Piano Gold (2010) and in Classica 2011, by Brilliant Classics in The Ultimate Piano Concerto (2010), by DECCA in 50 Piano Masters (2012): anthologias of the most important piano interpreters (Abbado, Argerich, Ashkenazy, Brendel, Chailly, Domingo, Michelangeli, Rattle, Richter, etc.).
Next CD will include De Falla’s Noches en los jardines de España and Turina’s Rapsodia Sinfónica with Oviedo Philharmonia (DECCA).
Last update: September, 2015
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