|Born||December 1, 1974|
|Labels||Centaur Records, Steinway & Sons, Harmonia Mundi, Azica Records|
Antonio Pompa-Baldi (born December 1, 1974) is an Italian-American pianist. Described by Donald Rosenberg of The Plain Dealer as "a musician of myriad superlative qualities," he was the first prize winner of the 1999 Cleveland International Piano Competition in addition to being a top prize winner of both the 1998 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition and the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He continues to regularly perform internationally as a recitalist, as a chamber musician, and as a soloist with such orchestras as the Boston Pops, Houston Symphony, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Symphoniker, and the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France under such conductors as Hans Graf, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and Theodore Kuchar. Additionally, Pompa-Baldi currently serves as Distinguished Professor of Piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music and as honorary guest professor and visiting professor at three universities in China, including the China Conservatory of Music.
Early life and education
Pompa-Baldi was born to a non-musical family in Foggia, Italy. When he was about three years old, his parents stumbled upon a television broadcast of a performance of a piano concerto, and Pompa-Baldi, captivated, started "playing on the table". Shortly after, his parents gave him a toy piano, where he taught himself to play some tunes by ear. He began formal piano lessons at the age of four with Vittorio Sannoner, and at fourteen, won a string of competition awards in Italy. In 1993, Pompa-Baldi graduated from the Umberto Giordano Conservatory of Foggia, and afterwards moved to Napoli, where he began studies with Annamaria Pennella. He also studied for about 18 months with Aldo Ciccolini, and also served as his assistant. Pompa-Baldi also studied with Paul Badura-Skoda, Bruno Canino, and Jörg Demus.
In 1998 Pompa-Baldi received the 3rd Prize at the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris, France. He also received the special prize for the best interpretation of a contemporary work written for the competition ("Tumultes" by Serge Nigg). In 1999 he won the first prize in the Cleveland International Piano Competition, which lead to over 450 concert engagements within two years. In 2001 Pompa-Baldi won a silver medal at the 11th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2001 in addition to the special prize for the best performance of a new work ("Three Impromptus" by Lowell Liebermann). He also won the most prize money. His performance of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 (Op. 26) with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and James Conlon in the final round was described by Scott Cantrell of The Dallas Morning News as "kinetically dramatic, almost savage in some of its more forceful passages but lovingly caressed in its more lyric moments", while the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described it as "the most spectacular moment of the week".
Pompa-Baldi has appeared at such venues as New York's Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Cleveland's Severance Hall, Paris' Salle Pleyel, Milan's Sala Verdi, Shanghai's Grand Theatre, and Boston's Symphony Hall. He has appeared as soloist with the Houston Symphony, Berliner Symphoniker, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Boston Pops, and Colorado Symphony, among many other orchestras. Among the conductors he has worked with are Theodore Kuchar, Hans Graf, James Conlon, Louis Lane, Keith Lockhart, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya.
After moving to the United States, Pompa-Baldi served on the piano faculty of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music; he now serves as Distinguished Professor of Piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He also serves as Honorary Guest Professor of the China Conservatory of Music, as well as honorary visiting professor of both Wenzhou University and Guizhou Normal University in China. Pompa-Baldi regularly serves on the juries and faculties of prominent international piano competitions and festivals, including the Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition, Cleveland International Piano Competition, Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Music Fest Perugia, Lang Lang Shenzhen Futian International Piano Festival, San Jose International Piano Competition, and many others. He continues to maintain a busy performing schedule, regularly touring internationally as a recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician. His performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Sonata No. 2 (Op. 36), which he performed as part of a recital at Carnegie Hall, was described by The New York Times as "meltingly beautiful".
Pompa-Baldi currently records for Centaur Records and the Steinway & Sons record label. His discography includes the entire piano output of Edvard Grieg in 11 volumes, the Josef Rheinberger Piano Sonatas Opp. 47, 99. and 135, and an all-Rachmaninoff album for Centaur Records. He also recorded an all-Brahms album for Azica, and is featured on a Harmonia Mundi CD of live performances from the 11th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
Pompa-Baldi lives with his wife, pianist Emanuela Friscioni, and their daughter in Cleveland.
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