Carlo Aonzo - www.carloaonzo.com
Carlo Aonzo, mandolinist, is a native of Savona, Italy where he grew up immersed in music. His initial teacher, his father Giuseppe (Director of the "Circolo Mandolinistico G. Verdi di Savona"), instilled in him a love and respect for the mandolin that has remained with him all his life. As a teenager Carlo went on to study with Ugo Orlandi, the current patriarch of the Italian mandolin, at the Cesare Pollini Conservatory in Padua where he graduated with honours (summa cum laude) in 1993. His playing has been recognized with awards at prestigious competitions including winning the "Vivaldi" prize of the 6th annual Vittorio Pitzianti National Mandolin Competition in Venice and first prize at the 27th annual Walnut Valley National Mandolin Contest in Winfield, Kansas.
Carlo has toured throughout Europe, Italy, Japan, the USA and Canada as a soloist and with chamber ensembles and orchestras (both professional and amateur). He has worked with many musical institutions including La Scala Philharmonic in Milan, Emilia-Romagna Symphony Orchestra, Savona Symphony Orchestra, Cannes Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Chamber Orchestra and as director of the Ligurian Plectrum Orchestra (Orchestra a Pizzico Ligure) who were called to play in the presence of Pope John Paul II. In 1998 he inaugurated the annual winter International Mandolin Festival in Varazze, Italy, and directed many editions of the festival over the years, calling on some of the most respected names in mandolin and guitar to perform there.
Carlo is also an active scholar of historic mandolins, mandolinists and mandolin repertoire and has contributed to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians while also editing books on music for Bèrben and Armelin publishers. He has given presentations on the iconography of the mandolin at prestigious institutions around the world including Boston University (Massachusetts), Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Milwaukee University, Vanderbilt College (Nashville), Maryville College (Tennessee), New England Music College (Massachusetts), the Italian Institute of Culture in Vancouver (Canada), the Italian Institute of Culture in Philadelphia, Hofstra University (NY), the National Instrument Museum in Rome and the Berio Library (Genoa).
His recent collaborations with guitarists Rene Izquierdo in the US and Katsumi Nagaoka in Europe have resulted in successful concert tours and an exciting new CD, Kaze, with guitarist Katsumi Nagaoka which offers both a respectful nod to historic repertoire and premiers lively, sophisticated new compositions. His most recent recordings have featured him partnered with keyboardist Elena Buttiero (on spinet and piano): Il mandolino italiano nel Settecento (2008) and a cd of Romantic works, Fantasia Poetica (2010). Carlo's duo with Elena Buttiero has recently completed two successful tours of the USA (in 2009 and 2010) and were invited to perform at the Europfestival Zupfmusik 2010 in Bruchsal, Germany. They will embark on their third North American tour in March-April 2011.