The established conductor Giovanni Antonini is well known for his interpretation of baroque and classical repertoire. Born in Milan, he studied at the Civica Scuola di Musica and at the Centre de Musique Ancienne in Geneva.
Antonini is a founder member of the baroque ensemble “Il Giardino Armonico”, which he has been leading since 1989. With this ensemble he has appeared as conductor and soloist on the recorder and baroque transverse flute in Europe, United States, Canada, South America, Australia, Japan and Malaysia. He has performed with many prestigious artists including Christophe Coin, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Viktoria Mullova and Giuliano Carmignola.
His superb collaboration with Cecilia Bartoli for the “Vivaldi Album” won him a Grammy Award in 2000.
Antonini’s achievements have led him to be in great demand as a guest conductor appearing with orchestras including Camerata Salzburg, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Rundfunksinfonieorchester Berlin, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.
In 2004 Sir Simon Rattle invited Antonini to conduct the Berliner Philharmoniker in works from the Classical and Baroque periods: the Tagesspiegel praised the concerts and the Berliner Zeitung defined his interpretation as “simply ingenious”.
In the 2009/10 season Antonini conducted City of Birmingham Symphony, Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Camerata Salzburg, Berner Symphony, Tonkünstlerorchester and the Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France; in September 2010 he received a new commitment with Berliner Philharmoniker.
Antonini’s opera productions have included Handel’s Acis, Galatea e Polifemo in Vienna, Salzburg and Salamanca and Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio segreto in Bolzano, Trento, Rovigo and Liege. In the 08/09 season he conducted Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Handel’s Alcina at Teatro La Scala in Milano.
With il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini has recorded numerous CDs of instrumental works by Vivaldi (including The Four Seasons), other 17th and 18th Century Italian composers, J.S. Bach (Brandenburg Concertos), Biber and Locke for Teldec. Their CD with Viktoria Mullova, (Vivaldi’s Violin Concertos) won the prestigious Diapason d’Or 2005 for baroque instrumental music. With the French label Naïve they recorded “La Casa del Diavolo”, Vivaldi’s “Concerti per violoncello” with Christophe Coin, and Vivaldi’s opera Ottone in Villa.
Giovanni Antonini’s recording with il Giardino Armonico have all been awarded many prizes such as Gramophone Award, Premio Fondazione Cini, Echo Klassik , Caecilia Award, Diapason d’Or, Choc de la Musique, 10 de Repertoire , Gran Prix de Discophiles.
Since May 2008 Il Giardino Armonico has a contract with Decca. Their recording of Handel’s Concerti Grossi won the Echo prize in Germany and their most recent recording ‘Il Pianto di Maria – the Virgin’s Lament’ with mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink, has been greatly received. Their last recording ‘Sacrificium’, again with Cecilia Bartoli, has been released in September 2009.
Giovanni Antonini continues his successful collaboration with the Kammerorchester Basel, in particular with their project of the recording of Beethoven Symphonies for Sony.
He was recently named Artistic Director for the famous international Festival Wratislavia Cantans for the 2013 season onwards.