Vittorio Ghielmi (born 1968) is an Italian musician (viola da gamba), conductor, composer. Compared by critics to Jasha Heifetz (“Diapason”) for his virtuosity, and described as “An Alchemist of sound” (“Diario de Sevilla”) for the intensity and versatility of his musical interpretations, Vittorio Ghielmi attracted notice while still very young for his new approach to the viola da gamba and to the sound of early music repertoire.
He was born in Milan, Italy, where as a child he began his study of music with the violin and later the viola da gamba. In 1995 he was the winner of the "Concorso Internazionale Romano Romanini per strumenti ad arco" (Brescia). His fieldwork within old musical traditions surviving in forgotten parts of the world and bringing new perspectives to the interpretation of European "early music" led to him being presented the “Erwin Bodky Award” (Cambridge, Massachusetts USA 1997). He studied the viol with Roberto Gini (Accademia Internazionale della Musica, Milano), Wieland Kuijken (Conservatoire Royale, Bruxelles) and Christophe Coin (Paris). Associations with instrument maker, engineer and humanist Luc Breton (CH) as well as with many musicians of non-European traditions (India, Afghanistan, Africa, Latin America) have been fundamental to his musical career.
As viola da gamba soloist or conductor, he has appeared with many of the world’s most famous orchestras in the fields of both classical and ancient music (Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra - performing a Graun Concerto in the Hollywood Bowl; the London Philharmonia, the Wiener-Concertverein, Il Giardino Armonico, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra etc.). He performs recitals in duos with his brother Lorenzo Ghielmi and with Luca Pianca, and has performed many of in the most important halls (Musikverein Wien, Berliner Philharmoniker Hall, Casals Hall Tokio etc.). As soloist or chamber musician, he has shared the stage with artists such as Gustav Leonhardt (duo), Cecilia Bartoli, Andràs Schiff, Thomas Quasthoff, Mario Brunello, Enrico Onofri, Viktoria Mullova, Graciela Gibelli, Giuliano Carmignola, Christophe Coin, Reinhard Goebel, Giovanni Antonini, Ottavio Dantone etc. He is one of the few viola da gamba players regularly invited to appear as a soloist with orchestra.
He has been invited to play in the world première of many new compositions, many of which have been dedicated to him (Kevin Volans, White man’s sleep, Teatro Regio di Torino; Nadir Vassena, Bagatelle trascendentali for viola da gamba, lute and orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker Hall, 2006; Uri Caine "Concerto for viola da gamba and orchestra", Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Bozar Bruxelles 2008; Caine Concerto per viola da gamba, basset-horn and Orchestra, Passau 2012). From 2007 to 2011 he was assistant to Riccardo Muti at the Salzburg festival. In 2007 he conceived and conducted a show, based on Buxtehude's "Membra Jesu Nostri", with the American film maker Marc Reshovsky (Hollywood) and the Swedish choir "Rilke Ensemble" (G.Eriksson); the project was produced by the Semana de musica religiosa de Cuenca (Madrid) and brought later to the Musikfest Stuttgart in 2010. Over three nights in 2009, he gave a performance of Forqueray’s complete works for viola da gamba at De Bijloke, Ghent (B). He has been artist in residence at Musikfest Stuttgart 2010, the Segovia festival 2011, and the Bozar Bruxelles 2011. In 2012 he conducted Handel's Water music at the Portogruaro Festival (Venice) with a spectacle on the river Lemene conceived by Monique Arnaud.
His ensemble, Il Suonar Parlante, appearing as a Viols Quartet or an Orchestra, is devoted to a new investigation of the early music repertoire as well as to the creation of new musical realities (see the page and link in this site). The ensemble has also performed with important jazz players such as Kenny Wheeler, Uri Caine, Jim Black, Don Byron, Markus Stockhausen, Nguyen Lê and Achille Succi; jazz and blues singers such as Cristina Zavalloni and Barbara Walker; pop singers like Vinicio Capossela; and flamenco stars such as Carmen Linares. Several jazzmen and composers have written new music for Il Suonar Parlante. The ensemble also collaborates with traditional Asian musicians like the Afghan virtuosi of "Ensemble Kaboul" (Khaled Arman).
Ghielmi’s collaboration with traditional players and in particular with the Sardinian traditional singers of the Cuncordu de Orosei is documented in the film “The Heart of Sound”, BFMI (Salzburg-Hollywood). He has made many recordings winning many prizes (for labels such as Winter&Winter, Harmonia Mundi, Teldec, Decca, Sony, Auvidis, Opus 111, Passacaille) covering all the different musical styles in the viol repertoire; four CDs are dedicated to the virtuosic gamba concerti by Johan Gottlieb Graun (1702-1771) performed with Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Wiener Akademie, "Il Gardellino" and Il Suonar Parlante.
In addition to his activity as an instrumentalist and conductor, he has often been in demand as an arranger and composer.
Vittorio Ghielmi is professor at the Conservatorio Luca Marenzio (Brescia) and at Mozarteum in Salzburg and regularly gives master-classes in Academies and Universities all over the world. In the "Politecnico della cultura, delle arti e delle lingue" in Milan, he has organized series of conferences and concerts focused on the early music instrumental techniques and their survival in "ethnic" musical traditions. He has published studies and articles on music and previously unpublished scores (Fuzeau, Minkoff, Ut Orpheus), as well as a method for viola da gamba known throughout the world (with Paolo Biordi, ed. Ut-Orpheus, Bologna). He is currently publishing a complete edition of Johan Gottlieb Graun's Viola da Gamba concertos and directs the musical research of “Libroforte-Fine Music Editions”. Vittorio Ghielmi plays a bass viol made by Michel Colichon, Paris 1688.
- Bagpipes from Hell — Music for Viola da gamba, Lyra-viol, Lute, and Ceterone. 17th and 18th century (Vittorio Ghielmi, Luca Pianca, 1999_
- Pièces de caractère — Works by: Marais, Forqueray, Mouton, Dollé, Caix d'Hervelois, De Visée (Vittorio Ghielmi, Luca Pianca, 2002)
- Short Tales for a Viol — English lyra-viol music of the 17th century (Vittorio Ghielmi)
- Full of Colour (V. Ghielmi, E. Reijseger, Il Suonar Parlante)
- Johann Sebastian Bach — Preludi ai corali (Vittorio Ghielmi, Italian Viola da Gamba Quartet)
- Devil's Dream (Ghielmi, Pianca, Gibelli)
- Villa Medici - Nata per la musica Bern, Beschi, Caine
- Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach — Lieder zum singen bey dem Clavier
- Johann Gottlieb Graun — Konzertante Musik mit Viola da Gamba
- J. S. Bach: Sonatas for Viola da Gamba & Harpsichord, Vittorio Ghielmi (viola da gamba), Lorenzo Ghielmi (fortepiano). Also includes Bach Preludes & Fugues, 1998, [Lorenzo is Vittorio's older brother]
- C. P. E. Bach: Lieder - Zum singen bey dem clavier — Ursula Fiedler (Sorpano) Lorenzo Ghielmi (Clavier), Vittorio Ghielmi (viola da gamba), Ars Musici, 1999
- Der Kastanienball — Vittorio Ghielmi, Il Suonar Parlante — Prinzregenten Theater, Munchen, Germany (2004).
- Dalla Casa: Il Secondo Libro dei Madrigali — Il Terzo Suono Balconi, Dalla Casa, Fabris, Fagotto, Fedi
- Graun: Concerti — Ponseele, Il Gardellino Ensemble
- Graun: Concerti CPO
- Marin Marais: La Force et la Douceur, Pièces de viole, V. Ghielmi and Luca Pianca, Passacaille, 2010
- Barbarian Beauty, Concertos for viola da gamba and orchestra, (Graun, Telemann, Tartini and Vivaldi: the gypsy side), with Marcel Comendant (cymbalon), Dorothee Oberlinger recorder, M.Hirasaki, violin and "Il Suonar Parlante Orchestra", Passacaille 2011