Biography

“Colli’s recent London performance of Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 3 suggested a maverick genius.” 
   — International Piano (July/August 2018)

“What we get here is music making of rare conviction and exuberance, a vitality that sweeps you up in a tide of invention and leaves you, after a fleeting hour, positively gagging for the second volume. Scarlatti hasn’t been this much fun since Horowitz left it off his encores list.”
   — La Scena Musicale (May 2018)

Internationally recognized for his vibrant interpretations and brilliant technique, Italian pianist Federico Colli received fantastic press following the release of his initial album for Chandos Records in May 2018. “You can’t but marvel at the sheer quality of his playing – his trills the epitome of crispness, his repeated notes sounding absurdly easy, while his command of dynamic extremes is second to none,” wrote Grammophone about the release dedicated to Domenico Scarlatti’s Piano Sonatas. “Colli’s delicacy … is miraculous,” echoed The Times in a 5-star review. “Roll on the next 16 sonatas, or the full remaining 539.”

Federico first came to prominence after winning the Salzburg Mozart Competition in 2011 and the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2012. Since then, he has been performing with orchestras including the Mariinsky Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, RAI Torino, Orchestra della Toscana, Camerata Salzburg, Polish National Radio Symphony, RTÉ National Symphony and Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira at venues including the Vienna Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Berlin Konzerthaus, Munich’s Herkulessaal, Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle, Paris’s Salle Cortot, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, the Rudolfinum in Prague and Nikkei Hall in Tokyo. In the UK alone, he has performed with the Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Hallé at the Barbican, Southbank Centre, Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow and Usher Hall in Edinburgh.

Federico has worked with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Yuri Temirkanov, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vasily Petrenko, Juraj Valčuha, Thomas Søndergård, Sakari Oramo, Alan Buribayev, Joji Hattori, Jasper Kaspszyk, Alpesh Chauhan, Sir Mark Elder and Dennis Russell Davies. His concerts have been broadcast by BBC Radio 3, RAI radio and TV, Mariinsky TV, Polish Radio and ORF Austria.

The 18/19 seasons sees Federico’s debuts with the Hamburger Symphoniker (Ion Marin) and Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz (Lukasz Borowicz), as well as returns to the Philharmonia Orchestra (Andrew Nethsingha) and the Janáček and Rijeka philharmonics. He makes his recital debuts in New York (Lincoln Center), Berlin (Konzerthaus), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw) and Seoul (Kumho Art Hall), as well as his first appearances at Wigmore Hall and Lucerne Piano Festival, and U.S. orchestra debut with the Stamford Symphony. Earlier this year, he performed at Royal Albert Hall and at the Ravinia Festival.

Federico records exclusively for Chandos Records, with whom he released his first album in May 2018. The second album, with works by Bach and Bach-Busoni, will follow in 2019. To coincide with his debut at the Southbank Centre’s International Piano Series in April 2014, Federico’s debut solo CD, produced by Champs Hill Records, was released to great critical acclaim, featuring works by Beethoven, Scriabin and Mussorgsky. BBC Music Magazine wrote of the disc: “Colli’s captivating ability to illuminate even the most densely packed musical terrain emerges as a structure of supreme logic, propelled rather than merely embellished by mystical ripplings and flutterings.”

Born in Brescia in 1988, Federico studied at the Milan Conservatory, the Imola International Piano Academy and the Salzburg Mozarteum under the guidance of Sergio Marengoni, Konstantin Bogino, Boris Petrushansky and Pavel Gililov. In 2011 he received a ‘Grosso d’Argento’ from the mayor of Brescia in recognition of his artistic achievements, and in 2014 he was selected by International Piano magazine as one of the “30 pianists under 30 who are likely to dominate the world stage in years to come.”

by CAMI MUSIC, updated 14 September 2018

 

Video

 

Discography

CDcoverCHANDOS10988

DOMENICO SCARLATTI
SONATAS VOL. 1
CHAN 10988 ℗ © 2018 Chandos Records Ltd
FEDERICO COLLI PIANO

CHAPTER 1. THE POWER OF ILLUSION
[1] KK 19 in F minor
[2] KK 380 in E major
[3] KK 9 in D minor
[4] KK 234 in G minor
CHAPTER 2. LIVE HAPPILY!
[5] KK 492 in D major
[6] KK 322 in A major
[7] KK 525 in F major
[8] KK 39 in A major
CHAPTER 3. THE RETURN TO ORDER
[9] KK 396 in D minor
[10] KK 450 in G minor
[11] KK 430 in D major
[12] KK 1 in D minor
CHAPTER 4. ENCHANTMENT AND PRAYER
[13] KK 197 in B minor
[14] KK 69 in F minor
[15] KK 208 in A major
[16] KK 32 in D minor


[6] KK 322 in A major

BUY THE CD

Cleverly structured according to mood, the present selection first impresses with the clarity of Colli’s touch as he speeds through Scarlatti’s hurtling rhythms, startling modulations and dissonant crunches. In K.208, an A major adagio, we seem to be listening to music unravelling and Colli’s delicacy at such points is miraculous. The result is 18th-century Scarlatti all set up for the 21st, racing ahead with intoxicating vivacity, shimmering with poetry and painted a thousand colours.

Geoff Brown, The Times - UK ★★★★★

He groups his chosen “sonatas” in sequences of four and he makes his choices for contrast. Whatever the end goal, this is going to be an exhilarating journey in Colli’s crisp, articulate and expressive hands.

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times - UK

Colli brings out the joy of the pieces, taking the listener through adventures. He outdoes both Horowitz (1960s; M/A 2004) and Pletnev (1995 not reviewed) in vigor and contrasts. Acquire this and prepare to buy more of it.

Bradley Lehman, American Record Guide - USA

Colli's virtuosity copes easily with the sonatas' fiendish runs, snaps, and awkward trills, capturing the Spanish, Italian folk and dances influences that give these short, often curious pieces such flavour, wit and vitality.

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer - UK

In the F minor Sonata Kk69, the results are wonderful, expressive and yet dignified. His beautifully light touch and lyrical grace make the music shine.

Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph - UK ★★★★

This is amazing music, so imaginative, so emotionally varied. One can just listen straight through, sixty-seven minutes well-spent, and enjoy Scarlatti’s rich, wide-ranging and surprising invention. Fast works are crisp and brilliant, slower ones sensitive and affecting. Colli really makes this music speak and resonate, and throughout he digs deep into the musical potential created by this genius composer.

Colin Anderson, Classical Source - UK ★★★★★

What we get here is music making of rare conviction and exuberance, a vitality that sweeps you up in a tide of invention. Scarlatti hasn’t been this much fun since Horowitz left it off his encores list. Bookmark this project, a milestone in modern recording.

Norman Lebrecht, My Scena La Scena Musicale - Canada ★★★★

The 16 sonatas are grouped into four chapters. It’s a brilliant idea, as intellectually satisfying as it is musically - especially given Colli’s ability to validate his musical argument with such persuasive, tasteful use of tempi, dynamics, articulation and phrasing.

Will Yeoman, Limelight - Australia ★★★★

You can't but marvel at the sheer quality of his playing - his trills the epitome of crispness, his repeated notes sounding absurdly easy, while his command of dynamic extremes is second to none.

Harriet Smith, Gramophone - UK

The pianist is brilliantly alive to Scarlatti's infinite variety, mixing the familiar with the unfamiliar. His is an enthralling journey with a determination to open our minds and ears to all Scarlatti has to offer. Colli's pinpoint brilliance is complemented by an inwardness that makes his curtain-raiser, KK19 in F minor, a particularly haunting experience.

Bryce Morrison, International Piano - UK ★★★★★

Colli's colouring of the music is imaginative, and he is often persuasive in his cantabile playing. Notwithstanding some splendid moments - the A major Sonata K39 is one of them - I am happier when the aesthetics of Scarlatti's time are more closely adhered to.

Nicholas Anderson, BBC Music Magazine - UK ★★★

Colli performs these sonatas following the inner expression of the sounds. In this way, new sound worlds emerge with an immense range of nuances and touches. He is a meticulous and persuasive interpreter, so his interpretations of Scarlatti are so worthy of being heard.

Carsten Dürer, PianoNEWS - Germany ★★★★★★

 

CDcoverCHRECORDS

PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
CHRCD079 © ℗ 2014 Champs Hill Records
FEDERICO COLLI piano

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
[1] - [3] Sonata No. 23 in F minor "Appassionata"

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN
[4] Sonata No. 10 Op. 70

MODEST MUSSORGSKY
[5] - [20] Pictures at an exhibition


[20] The Great Gate of Kiev

BUY THE CD

Beethoven’s ‘Appassionata’ Sonata is full of youthful fire in this performance by the Leeds winner Federico Colli. In short, it comprises the storm, the calm and the fury: I can almost imagine this is how Beethoven would have played it. Federico Colli shows his beautiful shades of colour in the wildly demanding Scriabin Tenth Sonata, where the trills and abrupt rhythms are given their full worth by the performer. With Mussorgsky’s Pictures, it can often be the case that pianists tend to overdo the drama. Federico Colli, however, is not out to score cheap points. The ‘Promenade’ binds the sections together without coming across as repetitive, and the big chords on the final pages are never harsh or banging. This is an impressive recording - the whole release is proof that the Leeds judges made the right decision in selecting Federico Colli as their number one.

Pianist Magazine   ★★★★★

Federico Colli's captivating ability to illuminate even the most densely packed musical terrain emerges as a structure of supreme logic.

Julian Haylock, BBC Music Magazine

Entirely individual, Federico Colli nonetheless takes you back to the far-off days of Lupu and Perahia. I can celebrate a crystalline brilliance and translucence that takes you to the heart of everything he plays.

Bryce Morrison, Gramophone

 

CDcoverMOZARTEUM

UNIVERSITAT MOZARTEUM SALZBURG
UNIMOZ 53 © 2014
FEDERICO COLLI Mozart, Beethoven, Ravel

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
[1]
 Variations in F Major KV 398 on “Salve tu, Domine”
[2] Rondo in D Major KV 485
[3] Eine kleine Gigue in G Major KV 574
[4] - [6] Sonata in G Major KV 283 

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
[7] - [10]
Sonata no. 1 in F minor Op. 2 Nr. 1

[1-10] Recorded December 13th and 14th, 2011 at the Solitar of the Mozarteum University Salzburg by Ton und Videostudio
Direction: Peter Schimdt - Producer: Sascha Tekale - Sound engineers: Michael Wacht, Hermann Urabl 

MAURICE RAVEL
[11] - [13]
Gaspard de la nuit

[11-13] Recorded live June 1st, 2013 at the Dortmund Amphi Saal for the Klavier Festival Ruhr
Sound engineer: Cristoph Martin Frommen


[10]
 Prestissimo


[11]
 Ondine

Editor: Stefan David Hummel - Cover photo: Sarah Ferrara

 

CDCoverKPHILBONN
LIVE RECORDING AT THE BONN BEETHOVENHALLE
© 2011 Klassische Philharmonie Bonn
Klassische Philharmonie Bonn

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
[1] - [3] Piano Concerto no. 5 in E flat major Op. 73
[4] - [7] Symphony no. 7 in A flat major Op. 92

Piano: Federico Colli   Conductor: Heribert Beissel   Orchestra: Klassische Philharmonie Bonn


[3]
 Rondo - Allegro

Mastering recording: G. Gutten - H. Herzig   Opening comments: I. Forst - G. Massenkeil
Pages layout: M. Steymans Brenner   Illustrations: O. Runge "Der grosse Morgen" (Ausschnitt)

 

Reviews

If anyone had arrived at the concert wondering why Federico Colli had won the Salzburg Mozart Competition and the Gold Medal at The Leeds, their wondering would have turned to just plain wonder after only a few bars of hearing him play.

William Ruff, Nottingham Post

Federico Colli- piano playing of wonderful subtlety.
The slow movement- one of the most beautiful things in Schumann's output, surely- was moody, rapt and gloriously poetic.

Tim Ashley, The Guardian  ★★★★★

Something magical began to happen with the first variation of the Beethoven's second movement: a pattern of figuration that in other hands can be nothing more than that, but that for Federico Colli became a shifting lattice of subtle voices, light and shade- as if he could hear and imagine things that the rest of us can't.

Jessica Duchen, JDCMB

Federico Colli is undoubtedly an interpreter of extraordinary freshness, elegance and originality. The expressive tension, the tonal variety and the richness of accents in the phrasing are irresistible to the listener's ears.

Gianni Villani, L'Arena di Verona

Federico Colli has obviously a wonderful technique, which allows him to penetrate the work in different ways. His interpretation of Beethoven’s Emperor was clearly structured and logically expressed.

Harald Budweg, Frankfurter Allgemeine

Cutting a dandyish figure in his grey suit and trademark silk cravat, Federico Colli launched the Mozart Sonata regarded by many pianists as downright trivial, but which in his hands opened up like a spring flower, its outer movements shot through with brilliant lights, and its Andante exquisitely shaded; he tended to brush the keys rather than striking them, and he was very sparing with the pedal.

Michael Church, The Independent   ★★★★★

With clear and shrill sound, Federico Colli not only conquers the goal- showing a technique of extreme virtuosity- but also manages to give a his own reading of the demoniac Rach 3. He reveals the nature "liberty", decorative and insinuating of the concerto, more American than Russian, more silky than furry. Very well.

Carla Moreni, Il Sole 24 Ore

With Federico Colli, winner in 2012 of the renowned Leeds Piano Competition, Italy has gained, after a long time, a young pianist who has every chance of reconnecting with the great tradition of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Maurizio Pollini. His sense for the strong contrasts, for a brilliant and resolute sound aims to the passion. His dizzying coherence in the interpretation and his focus on the changing lights are not exhausted in a virtuosic performance, but they serve to the structural explanation of the work.

Werner Haussner, Dortmund Revier Passagen

Played with formidable delicacy by Federico Colli with limpid tone and calligraphic phrasing, it’s a Valentino kiss this work. Cool, a little sad, unhurried, elegant. But Federico Colli takes care to seduce before sweeping the listener off his or her feet.

Anna Picard, The Times

Federico Colli is a prodigious young talent, making effortless work of Beethoven’s masterful but technically demanding ‘Emperor’ piano concerto. Visually, the cravat is the most flamboyant thing about him- his playing style is composed, with all his internal energy being channelled through long, elegant fingers and into a fluidly graceful, but technically impeccable, performance. The flourish of the opening movement was impressive, but the central Allegro was a thing of beauty.

Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo

His playing was consistently detached, but never mechanical and he was phenomenal with his clarity of playing.

Michael Tumelty, The Herald