Flamboyant Italian pianist stars at top music festival

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Federico Colli. Picture by Sarah Ferrera.

One of the world’s top young pianists will be starring at a music festival.

The flamboyant Italian, Federico Colli, 29, will be appearing at the North Wales International Music Festival at St Asaph Cathedral at 7.30pm on Thursday, September 21.

He has quickly forged a reputation as one of the world’s top young pianists after hitting the headlines following his win at the Salzburg Mozart Competition in 2011 and the Leeds International Piano competition the following year.

Federico Colli. Picture by Sarah Ferrera.

Born in Brescia in northern Italy in 1988, Colli studied at the Milan Conservatory, the Imola Piano Academy and Salzburg Mozarteum.

The in-demand international pianist will play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 at the Night in Vienna concert, which is being sponsored by Tesni Properties, a development company based in Mold.

Colli will perform alongside the festival’s resident orchestra NEW Sinfonia under the baton of Wrexham’s Robert Guy.

NEW Sinfonia will also perform Mozart’s Overture to the Marriage of Figaro and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Waldteufel’s Skater’s Waltz and a selection of waltzes and polkas composed by Johann Strauss. It promises to be an amazing evening of classical music according to the festival’s artistic director, Ann Atkinson.

The following day Friday, September 22, the piano virtuoso will be holding a masterclass workshop for aspiring pianists at the Cathedral from 10 am until 1pm.

The festival, which starts on Saturday, September 16, and ends on Saturday, September 30, is being supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Tŷ Cerdd and the Colwinston Charitable Trust.

Among the other stars of the festival will be singers from Welsh National Opera with the festival community chorus, vocal group VOCES8, baroque instrumentalists Red Priest, composer Robat Arwyn, tenor Rhys Meirion, Ensemble Cymru, the National Youth Brass Band of Wales, violinist Ye-Eun Choi and the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet.

Ann Atkinson said: “I am delighted to have secured the services of Federico Colli. He really is one of the new world stars of piano. His technique is impeccable and he interprets the music he performs in a really imaginative way.

“You only have to look at the world class orchestras Federico has performed alongside, from the St Petersburg Philharmonic, the Hallé, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira among many others to understand his growing stature.

“And of course he’s in demand around the world having performed across Europe, South America and the Far East.

“He is also a wonderful recording artist having released his debut album to critical acclaim featuring works by Beethoven, Scriabin and Mussorgsky in 2014 to coincide with his debut at the Southbank Centre’s International Piano Series.”

She added: “I am so looking forward to hearing Federico Colli perform. This is what the North Wales International Festival is all about; bringing world class classical musicians to the region so our audience can appreciate performances they perhaps would normally have to travel to the big cities to witness.”

The theme of this year’s North Wales International Music Festival is Journeys and Ann Atkinson says some of the other performers appearing at St Asaph during the festival promise to deliver some remarkable performances.

She said: “We have the amazing South Korean violinist Ye-Eun Choi, who has also performed with some of the world’s very best orchestras, playing a concert with our resident NEW Sinfonia orchestra.

“Ye-Eun Choi’s journey from East to West in pursuit of violin excellence is a remarkable story in its own right and she will perform during what will be a wonderful and magical evening of classical music.

“I’m also particularly looking forward to hearing Red Priest again. They performed at St Asaph a few years ago and their performance of early Baroque music was incredibly really well received which is why we have invited them back.

“They will perform their Gypsy Baroque Fantasy which is high energy and just a wonderful and amazing programme.

“We also have world class classical guitarists the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet, who will be performing a concert of music from around the world as well as concerts featuring the Welsh National Opera and the a cappella vocal group VOCES8.

She added: “We will also be celebrating the work of one of Wales’ most popular composers, Robat Arwyn, who will perform alongside tenor Rhys Meirion, Cȏr Rhuthun and Cȏr Ysgol Pen Barras.

“The programme will highlight Robat’s musical journey from the composition of his first symphony while still at college to his latest commission, a work for cello and piano.

“It’s going to be a truly wonderful and amazing festival. The programme this year is so varied and there really is something there for everyone.

“I really would encourage lovers of classical music to visit our website and get tickets as soon as they can for what is going to be an amazing and joyful festival of music.”

To find out more about the North Wales International Music Festival please visit www.nwimf.com. Tickets are available online and from Theatr Clwyd on 01352 701521 or Cathedral Frames in St Asaph on 01745 582929.