Giovanni Sollima

pict9[1]“He makes me look like a pussycat!” said Ma, 54, sounding proud and almost relieved. “He’s very elusive. He goes silent for months at a time. You just can’t find him. He’s a supervirtuoso of the cello. He studied with [the eminent] Antonio Janigro but plays like a jazz musician and is part performance artist. He has no fear, and that’s unusual in the classical world – we’re all terrified of wrong notes” – Yo-Yo Ma, Philadelphia Inquirer

Giovanni Sollima is a true virtuoso of the cello. Playing for him is not an end in itself, but a means of communicating with the world. He is a composer out of the ordinary, he communicates with a music full of Mediterranean rhythms, with a melodic vein typically Italian. His world covers all eras “from the Jurassic of the Cello” as he calls the baroque period to the “Metal.” He writes mainly for the cello and contributes significantly to the creation of new repertoire for his instrument. His audience is diverse; from classical music lovers to young “metalheads,” Giovanni conquers all.

Born in Palermo into a family of musicians, he studied cello with Giovanni Perriera and Antonio Janigro, and composition with his father, and Eliodoro Sollima and Milko Kelemen. He worked with artists such as Claudio Abbado, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Jörg Demus, Martha Argerich, Riccardo Muti, Yuri Bashmet, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Ruggero Raimondi, Bruno Canino, DJ Scanner, Victoria Mullova, Patti Smith, Philip Glass, Carolyn Carlson, Bob Wilson, Peter Greenaway and John Turturro. The prestigious Chicago Symphony Orchestra commissioned a new double cello concerto for him and Maestro Yo Yo Ma; the premiere took place at Symphony Hall in Chicago in February 2014.

He teaches at the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome and plays a cello by Francesco Ruggieri (1679, Cremona).

Visit his website: www.giovannisollima.com

Photo by Gian Maria Musarra