Giovanni Antonini


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 and Principal Guest Conductor of the Mozarteum Orchester and Kammerorchester Basel.

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 2016/17 season conducting performances include Wratislava Cantans Festival, ‘Le nozze di Figaro’ and ‘Alcina’ at the Zürich Opera, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchester, Il Giardino Armonico and he continues his close collaboration with the Kammerorchester Basel. Giovanni is performing increasingly more repertoire from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with particular attention to 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 seventeenth and eighteenth century Italian composers, J.S. Bach (Brandenburg Concertos) and Biber and Locke for Teldec. With Naïve he recorded Vivaldi’s opera “Ottone in Villa”, and in the recent 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.

June 2016
This biography must not be edited without the permission of Askonas Holt

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Il Giardino Armonico Concert

Barbican, 7 May 2014

From many points of view, Antonini and his historically informed ensemble matched her approach to a nicety; their playing offered character without excess, and their tone substance without heaviness. All their accompaniments were vividly sketched, though they really came into their own in two concerti grossi by Handel and another by his London-based Italian colleague, Francesco Geminiani. The Guardian


Norma, Salzburg Whitsun Festival

Orchestra La Scintilla

"Also fundamental to the success of the evening was Giovanni Antonini’s conducting and the playing by La Scintilla, the period instrument orchestra of the Zurich Opera House. Although one or two of Mr. Antonini’s tempos were on the brisk side, he dealt ably with Bellini’s long-spanned melodies and scrubbed the opera clean of unwanted performance traditions dating from a later time. In addition to contributing to an ideal balance between stage and pit, the period instruments gave the music the sonic vitality that they more familiarly impart to 18th-century music."  New York Times 21 May 2013
"To add to the historical authenticity, the Italian conductor, Giovanni Antonini, directed the Orchestra La Scintilla, the period instrument orchestra of the Zurich Opera. He was most sympathetic to the soloists and the outstanding choir, the Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera." Jerusalem Post 6 June 2013

Concert 27 February 2013

Concertgebouw Orkest

"Although the programme was standard 18th Century repertoire, Antonini manages to avoid any monotony. It was a pleasant performance with careful articulation, transparency, sound changes and dynamic contrasts." NRC Handelsblad, 28 February 2013

Concert 20 June 2012

Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse

"His compelling momentum, the malleable leadership, the colours in the orchestra, the delicate key changes, the irrepressible rhythm, all contributed to a most sensual interpretation [Mozart Symphony No 25]."
Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. Utmisol, 25 June 2012

Concert 18 March 2011

Gewandhaus Zu Leipzig

"The title La Passione [Symphony in F minor /Haydn] was taken literally by the Gewandhaus Orchestra under Giovanni Antonini: Various forms of passion were certainly experienced by the audience….In the presto one last gasp: Giovanni Antonini energetically built up the storm. He coaxed the orchestra’s threatening swelling tremolos, then slowed down again in the melancholy triumphs in the fight against the awesome drama."
Gewandhaus Zu Leipzig, Leipziger Volkszeitung, 21 March 2011

Concert 11 March 2011

Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse

"Leading the Orchestre national du Capitole, the Italian conducted Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven with real energy, clarity and colour...the Beethoven was exhiliarating"
La Dépêche du Midi

Concert 13 August 2010


"Antonini's Beethoven is predictably lithe and tangy, its uniqueness discernable. To the standard euphoria and exhilaration, he adds wonderment and gratitude." The Independent, 15 August 2010

Concert 21 May 2010

Il Giardino Armonico

"The playing from Il Giardino Armonico, under Giovanni Antonini, was stylish, quite impeccable."
Vivaldi Ottone in Villa
The Guardian May 2010



No.1 La Passione

Il Giardino Armonico

Joseph Haydn
Symphony Nr. 1 in D major
Symphony Nr. 39 in G minor
Symphony Nr. 49 in F minor

Christoph Willibald Gluck
Extracts from Don Juan ou Le Festin de Pierre
Ballet Pantomime
Outhere Music- Alpha 670

Bellini - Norma

Vincenzo Bellini: Norma / Cecilia Bartoli, Sumi Jo, John Osborn, Michele Pertusi, Orchestra La Scintilla, Giovanni Antonini / èand © 2013 Decca Music Group Limited
Decca Classics