Swiss-Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi, a native of Locarno, has over the years gained a reputation as one of the leading interpreters of the German classical and romantic repertoire. He appears as a regular guest with many of the world’s leading orchestras, in concert halls and music festivals around the globe, while still being firmly anchored on the shores of Lago Maggiore as Artistic Director of the music festival Settimane Musicali di Ascona.
With his subtle, but mesmerizing interpretations of Franz Schubert’s piano sonatas, as well as the solo works and piano concertos of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Liszt, he has been acclaimed internationally by critics and audiences alike. His playing is characterized by sensitivity, intimacy and poetry, but also by power and brilliance. Above all, it is important to him to illuminate the scores from within: „Making music is like a second language for me. It feels like an existential necessity. I don’t want to entertain the audience, I want to let them participate in the deep dimensions of music.“
In addition to the classical and romantic periods, Francesco Piemontesi’s wider repertoire includes works by Bach and Handel in original versions and transcriptions, piano concertos by Ravel, Debussy, Bartók, Rachmaninov and Schönberg, as well as works by Olivier Messiaen and Unsuk Chin. Among his many important musical influences, he highlights his distinguished teachers Arie Vardi and Alfred Brendel, but above all French concert pianist Cecile Ousset. It is to her that he owes his rounded tone and a somnambulistic technique that is rooted in the French piano tradition going back to Marcel Ciampi.
Francesco Piemontesi’s musical artistry is documented on numerous recordings that have received awards and critical acclaim, such as Schubert’s last Piano Sonatas, Debussy’s Preludes and Mozart’s Piano Concertos with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Andrew Manze. His latest release on Pentatone is dedicated to two of the most demanding pieces of piano literature: The Transcendental Etudes and the B minor Sonata by Franz Liszt.
Working with fellow musicians and orchestras alike, Francesco Piemontesi’s collaborations form themselves from the nucleus of friendship, appreciation and creativity. He recently has been Artist in Residence with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Dresden Philharmonic and the Gstaad Menuhin Festival. A long-standing relationship links him to the Schubertiade Festival and to London’s Wigmore Hall: having already completed concert cycles with the integral piano works of Schubert and Mozart, he will perform Beethoven’s piano sonatas there from 2025. As adept on the concert stage as he is in smaller chamber combinations, Francesco Piemontesi appears with a variety of partners including Renaud Capuçon, Tabea Zimmermann, Leonidas Kavakos, Martha Argerich, Janine Jansen, Daniel Müller-Schott, Augustin Hadelich and Jörg Widmann.
As a soloist, he has played alongside leading orchestras such as Berlin and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, L’Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks Munich, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Wiener Symphoniker, the Chicago, Boston, London and NHK Symphony Orchestras, the Cleveland Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra as well as the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. He regularly collaborates with distinguished conductors such as Gianandrea Noseda, Fabio Luisi, Antonio Pappano, Daniele Gatti, Daniele Rustioni, Lorenzo Viotti, Robin Ticciati, Iván Fischer, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Marek Janowski, Joana Mallwitz, Thomas Søndergård, Daniel Harding, Roger Norrington, Karina Canellakis, Paavo Järvi, Zubin Mehta, Nathalie Stutzmann, Elim Chan and Maxim Emelyanychev.