Born in Milan, Giovanni studied at the Civica Scuola di Musica and at the Centre de Musique Ancienne in Geneva. He is a founder member of the Baroque ensemble “il Giardino Armonico”, which he has led since 1989. With this ensemble he has appeared as conductor and soloist on the recorder and Baroque transverse flute in Europe, United States, Canada, South America, Australia, Japan and Malaysia. He is Artistic Director of the Wratislavia Cantans Festival in Poland.
He has performed with many prestigious artists including Cecilia Bartoli, Isabel Faust, Viktoria Mullova, Giuliano Carmignola, Giovanni Sollima, Sol Gabetta, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Sumi Jo, Kristian Bezuidenhout and Emmanuel Pahud. In addition, Giovanni is also a regular guest with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Concertgebouworkest, Tonhalle Orchester, Mozarteum Orchester, Orquesta Nacional de España and Leipzig Gewandhausorchester.
His opera productions have included Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro”, Handel’s “Alcina” at Teatro alla Scala in Milano and Handel’s “Giulio Cesare” with Cecilia Bartoli. In 2013 he conducted Bellini’s “Norma” at Salzburg festival, reprised in summer and autumn 2015 and in Monte Carlo in February 2016. In the 2015/16 season conducting performances include Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra Munich, Berliner Philharmoniker, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Tonhalle Orchester Zurich and he continues his close collaboration with the Kammerorchester Basel. Giovanni is performing increasingly more repertoire from 16th and 17 centuries with particular attention for the art of improvisation.
In 2014 Giovanni Antonini launched a project called 'Haydn 2032, which was created to realise a vision; to record and perform – in a unique cycle of concerts across Europe – all of Joseph Haydn's 107 symphonies by the year 2032, the 300th anniversary of the composer's birth. Volumes 1 & 2 have been released on the label Alpha.
With il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini has recorded numerous CDs of instrumental works by Vivaldi as part of his wider recorded repertoire of 17th and 18th Century Italian composers, J.S. Bach (Brandenburg Concertos), Biber and Locke for Teldec. With Naïve he recorded Vivaldi’s opera “Ottone in Villa”, and in the last years he has been recording with il Giardino Armonico for Decca, including 'Alleluia' with Julia Lezhneva. With the Kammerorchester Basel he has recorded Beethoven Symphonies and most recently a disc of flute concertos with Emmanuel Pahud entitled ‘Revolution’. In 2013 he conducted a recording of Bellini’s Norma for Decca in collaboration with Orchestra La Scintilla.