Giovanni Antonini

Conductor, Il Giardino Armonico
Artistic Director, Wratislavia Cantans Festival
Principal Guest Conductor, Kammerorchester Basel
Principal Guest Conductor, Orchestra Mozarteum Salzburg

Photo credit: © Marco Borggreve


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 Wratislavia Cantans Festival in Poland and Principal Guest Conductor of Mozarteum Orchester and Kammerorchester Basel.

He has performed with many prestigious artists including Cecilia Bartoli, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Giuliano Carmignola, Isabelle Faust, Sol Gabetta, Sumi Jo, Viktoria Mullova, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Emmanuel Pahud and Giovanni Sollima. Renowned for his refined and innovative interpretation of the classical and baroque repertoire, Antonini is also a regular guest with Berliner Philharmoniker, Concertgebouworkest, Tonhalle Orchester, Mozarteum Orchester, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, London Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

His opera productions have included Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Handel’s Alcina at Teatro alla Scala in Milano and Opernhaus Zurich, Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Bellini’s Norma with Cecilia Bartoli at Salzburg Festival. During the 20/21 season, Giovanni conducts Alcina and Idomeneo at Opernhaus Zurich and returns to Mozarteum Orchester, Bamberg Symphoniker and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

With Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni has recorded numerous CDs of instrumental works by Vivaldi, J.S. Bach (Brandenburg Concertos), Biber and Locke for Teldec. With Naïve he recorded Vivaldi’s opera Ottone in Villa, and, with Il Giardino Armonico for Decca, has recorded Alleluia with Julia Lezhneva and La morte della Ragione, collections of sixteenth and seventeenth century instrumental music. With Kammerorchester Basel he has recorded the complete Beethoven Symphonies for Sony Classical and a disc of flute concertos with Emmanuel Pahud entitled Revolution for Warner Classics. In 2013 he conducted a recording of Bellini’s Norma for Decca in collaboration with Orchestra La Scintilla.

Antonini is artistic director of the Haydn 2032 project, created to realise a vision to record and perform with Il Giardino Armonico and Kammerorchester Basel, the complete symphonies of Joseph Haydn by the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The first 8 volumes have been released on the Alpha Classics label with two further volumes planned for release every year.


From The Green Room


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    La Morte della Ragione

    Label: Outhere Alpha Classics

    Release Date: 03 May 19

    Giovanni Antonini; director, recorders

    Il Giardino Armonico

    Desprez, Agricola, Gesualdo, Viadana

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    HAYDN 2032 Vol.7: Gli Impresari

    Label: Outhere Alpha

    Release Date: 01 Feb 19

    Kammerorchester Basel
    Giovanni Antonini

    HAYDN: Symphony No. 9 in C major Hob.1:9
    W A MOZART: Incidental music from Thamos, King of Egypt
    HAYDN:  Symphony no. 67 in F major Hob.1:67
    HAYDN: Symphony No. 65 in A major Hob.1:65

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    La Morte della Ragione

    Label: Amadeus

    Release Date: 20 Dec 18

    Music from XV – XVII centuries including Gusualdo, Schiedt, van Eyck, Desprez, Agricola,

    Giovanni Antonini; director, recorder
    Il Giardino Armonico

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    Beethoven: Symphony No. 9

    Label: Sony Classical

    Release Date: 26 Oct 18

    Kammerorchester Basel
    NFM Choir

    Giovanni Antonini
    Regula Mülemann
    Marle-Claude Chappuis
    Maximilian Schmitt
    Thomas E Bauer

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    HAYDN 2032, VOL. 6 'Lamentatione'

    Label: Outhere Alpha 678

    Release Date: 08 Jun 18

    Kammerorchester Basel

    J. Haydn Symphony No. 3 G major Hob. 1:3
    J. Haydn Symphony No. 26 D minor Hob. 1:26 ‘Lamentatione’
    J. Haydn Symphony No. 79 F major Hob. 1:79
    J. Haydn Symphony No. 30 C major Hob. 1:30 ‘Alleluia’

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    Haydn 2032, Vol. 5: L'homme de génie

    Label: Outhere Alpha 676

    Release Date: 08 Dec 17

    Kammerochester Basel

    J. Haydn Symphony No. 80 D minor Hob. 1:80
    J. Haydn Symphony No. 81 G major Hob. 1:81
    Joseph Martin Kraus Symphony in C minor, VB 142:1

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    MOZART Violin Concertos

    Label: Harmonia Mundi HMC902230/31

    Release Date: 28 Oct 16

    With Isabelle Faust & Il Giardino Armonico

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    Haydn 2032 No. 4 Il Distratto

    Label: Outhere Alpha 674

    Release Date: 07 Mar 16

    Il Giardino Armonico
    Riccardo Novaro, baritone

    J. Haydn Symphony No. 60 Hob. 1:60 ‘Il Distratto’
    Cimarosa Il maestro di cappella
    J Haydn   Symphony No. 70 D major Hob.I:70

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    Telemann - Suite, Sonata, Concerti

    Label: Alpha 254

    Release Date: 01 Dec 15

    Pour la flûe à bec et les chalumeaux
    Il Giardino Armonico
    Giovanni Antonini: flauto, chalumeau e direzione musicale

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    Haydn 2032 No. 3: Solo e Pensoso

    Label: Outhere Music : Alpha 672

    Release Date: 09 Nov 15

    Il Giardino Armonico
    Francesca Aspromonte, soprano
    J.Haydn: Overture ‘L’Isola Disabitata Hob.XXVII:9
    Symphony No. 2  D major Hob.1:42
    Aria ‘Solo e Pensoso’ Hob.XVIb:20
    Symphony No. 4 D major Hob.1:4
    W.A.Mozart:  ‘Vado, ma dove?’ KV583
    J. Haydn: Symphony No.64  A major Hob.1:64

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    Haydn 2032: No.2 Il Filosofo

    Label: Outhere Music - Alpha 671

    Release Date: 21 Apr 15

    Il Giardino Armonico
    Joseph Haydn
    Symphony Nr. 47 in G major,
    Symphony Nr. 22 in E flat major,
    Symphony Nr. 46 in B major
    Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
    Sinfonia in F major

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    Haydn 2032 No.1 La Passione

    Label: Outhere Music- Alpha 670

    Release Date: 07 Oct 15

    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

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    Label: Warner Classics

    Release Date: 10 Mar 15

    Flute Concertos by Devienne, Gianella, Gluck & Pleyel
    with Kammerorchester Basel, Emmanuel Pahud

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    BEETHOVEN Symphonies No. 7 & 8

    Label: Sony Classical 88765469372

    Release Date: 11 Feb 14

    With the Kammerorchester Basel

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    Bellini - Norma

    Label: Decca Classics

    Release Date: 20 May 13

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

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    The Vivaldi Album

    Label: Decca 02894783388

    Release Date: 05 Sep 11

    With Cecilia Bartoli, Arnold Schoenberg Chorus, Il Giardino Armonico

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    BEETHOVEN Symphonies No. 5 & 6

    Label: Sony Classical 88697648162

    Release Date: 01 Jan 10

    With the Kammerorchester Basel

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    Il Pianto di Maria – the virgin’s lament

    Label: Decca 02894781466

    Release Date: 06 Oct 09

    With Bernarda Fink & Il Giardino Armonico

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    Label: Decca CD02894781522

    Release Date: 01 Apr 09

    With Cecilia Bartoli and Il Giardino Armonico
    Works by Porpora, Caldara, Araia, Graun, Leothe and Vinci

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    BEETHOVEN Symphonies No. 3 & 4

    Label: Sony Classical 88697192522

    Release Date: 01 May 08

    With the Kammerorchester Basel

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    BEETHOVEN Symphonies No. 1 & 2

    Label: Oehms Classics OC605

    Release Date: 02 Oct 05

    With the Kammerorchester Basel

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    La Casa del diavolo

    Label: Naïve Classics OP 30399

    Release Date: 01 Jan 05

    With Il Giardino Armonico

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    08 Jun 18 Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chicago Symphony Cente

    “Uncommonly sensitive to fine degrees of dynamics throughout the concert, Antonini crouched low on the podium to draw exquisite pianissimos from the orchestra in the quieter moments of the Drum Roll… Haydn’s music took on renewed character and charm in this intimate perspective. I, for one, may never want to go back to hearing big-orchestra Haydn again.”

    The Chicago Tribune

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    18 Jan 18 L'Homme de génie: Haydn Kammerorcheter Basel
    Vol 5, Haydn 2032

    “The suave No. 81 comes off particularly well, while No. 80, one of Haydn’s most eccentric creations, is played straight and comes of all the more witty for it…. This is another winning entry into Antonini’s Haydn discography… in which direction will this compelling and tantalising slow-burn series turn next?”
    Gramophone Magazine, Jan 2018

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    08 May 14 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

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    19 May 13 Bellini 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

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    28 Feb 13 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

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    25 Jun 12 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

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    18 Mar 11 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

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    11 Mar 11 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

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    15 Aug 10 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

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    22 May 10 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