Born in Milan, Giovanni Antonini studied at the Civica Scuola di Musica and at the Centre de Musique Ancienne in Geneva. He is a founder member of the Baroque ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, which he has led 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 is Artistic Director of Wratislavia Cantans Festival in Poland and Principal Guest Conductor of Mozarteum Orchester and Kammerorchester Basel.
He has performed with many prestigious artists including Cecilia Bartoli, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Giuliano Carmignola, Isabelle Faust, Sol Gabetta, Sumi Jo, Viktoria Mullova, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Emmanuel Pahud and Giovanni Sollima. Renowned for his refined and innovative interpretation of the classical and baroque repertoire, Antonini is also a regular guest with Berliner Philharmoniker, Concertgebouworkest, Tonhalle Orchester, Mozarteum Orchester, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, London Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
His opera productions have included Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Handel’s Alcina at Teatro alla Scala in Milano and Opernhaus Zurich, Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto and Bellini’s Norma with Cecilia Bartoli at Salzburg Festival. In 2018 he conducted Orlando at Theater an der Wien and returned to Opernhaus Zurich for Idomeneo. During the 2019-20 season, Antonini conducts Giulio Cesare in Egitto at La Scala and returns to Mozarteum Orchester, Tonhalle Orchester, Czech Philhamonic and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischer Rundfunk.
With Il Giardino Armonico Antonini has recorded numerous CDs of instrumental works by Vivaldi, J.S. Bach (Brandenburg Concertos), Biber and Locke for Teldec. With Naïve he recorded Vivaldi’s opera Ottone in Villa, and for Decca he has recorded 2 volumes with Julia Lezhneva. Later with Alpha Classics (Outhere Music Group) he released various albums: among all La Morte della Ragione, collections of sixteenth and seventeenth century instrumental music. With Kammerorchester Basel he has recorded the complete Beethoven Symphonies for Sony Classical and a disc of flute concertos with Emmanuel Pahud entitled Revolution for Warner Classics. In 2013 he conducted a recording of Bellini’s Norma for Decca in collaboration with Orchestra La Scintilla.
Antonini is Artistic Director of the Haydn2032 project, created to realise a vision to record and perform with Il Giardino Armonico and Kammerorchester Basel the complete symphonies of Joseph Haydn by the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The first 8 volumes have been released on the Alpha Classics label with two further volumes planned for release every year.