Composer (Italy) The cellist and composer Giovanni Sollima was born in Palermo in 1962 to a family of musicians. He graduated from the Conservatory of Palermo and completed his education in Saltzburg and Stuttgard. At the beginning of his artistic life, Sollima undertook a brilliant, international career as cellist, collaborating with great musicians, such as Claudio Abbado, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Jorg Demusand Martha Argerich, at Lincoln Center in New York, Mozarteumin Salzburg, Théatre Chaillotin Paris, among others.
As composer, ever since his youth, Sollima has been captivated by every kind of music and has sought to create new blends among the most diverse genres by combining elements of classical, rock and jazz music, as well as ethnic music characteristic of all the Mediterranean lands. He composes for acoustic and electric instruments, others invented by himself, such as the aquilarco, and still others created for him, as the tenor violin represented in the Caravaggio’s pictures or an ice-cello that he played at 3,500-meter altitude, in an igloo-theatre.
Since 1992 his works have been included in important seasons on all the continents, and performed by conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Ashmet, Daniele Gatti, Ivan Fischer; soloists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Mischa Maisky, David Geringas, Antonio Meneses, Julius Berger, Thomas Demenga, Mario Brunello, Katia Labeque, Bruno Canino, Viktoria Mullova, Ruggero Raimondi; orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, La Scala Philarmonic Orchestra, the Kremerata Baltica, the Moscow Soloists, Santa Cecilia, Lucerne Festival Orchestra the European Union Chamber Orchestra; popstars such as Patti Smith, Vinicio Capossela, Larry Coryell, DJ Scannerand the Italian singer Elisa.
In the capacity of soloist, or with various musical groups, among them the “Giovanni Sollima Band,” which he founded himself in New York, Sollima performed his music in prestigious places, but also in alternative venues: he played at Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Knitting Factory and Merkin Hall in New York, Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls in London, Salle Gaveau in Paris, Passionskirche in Berlin, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, the Kunstfest of Weimar, the Kronberg Cello Festival, the International Festivals of Kuopio, Istanbul, Tokyo and Tunis(in the Sahara Desert).
In addition, he performed on tours throughout the United States, Canada, Japan and Russia. In Italy he has performed at La Scala in Milan, the Auditorium of Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Venice Biennale, the Ravenna and the Spoleto Festivals, among others.
Sollima has composed music for film directors, such as Wim Wenders (Palermo Shooting), Peter Greenaway (Vaux to the Sea and Nightwatching), Marco Tullio Giordana (One Hundred Steps), Edgar Honetschläger (Das Meer und der Kuchen); theatre directors, as Robert Wilson, Peter Stein, Alessandro Baricco; and choreographers, as Carolyn Carlsonand Karole Armitage. With the young Norwegian videomaker Lasse Gjertsen, an Internet star, he realized Daydream, a musical short presented at the Cannes Festival 2008 (one million views on YouTube, a worldwide record for a non-pop/rock video).
Among the numerous compact discs worth mentioning is Aquilarco (special guest Robert Wilson as reciting voice) released in 1998 for Point Music/PolyGram, on invitation by Philip Glass. In 2001, on behalf of Nonesuch/Warner, Gidon Kremer recorded in the album Tracing Astor his most widely performed piece all over the world: Violoncelles, vibrez!, a work played by the greatest soloists. In recent years, Sollima has recorded two CDs for Sony BMG: Works (2005) and We Were Trees (2008, with Patti Smith as special guest star). Sollima’s music is published by Casa Musicale Sonzogno, Milan.