Jean-François Antonioli, Swiss pianist of Italian origin, was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1959. He studied with Fausto Zadra, (Scaramuzza’s pupil) and 3 years with Pierre Sancan in Paris. Together with these key teachers in his development, two other encounters had a crucial impact on the rest of his life: Bruno Seidlhofer, (Vienna) and Carlo Zecchi (Rome), himself a disciple of Busoni and Schnabel, who will inspire Antonioli to play the 21 Mozart piano concerti.
He is active as a soloist (recital or with orchestra) in more than 20 countries on four continents. His US début was in 1991 with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. He has appeared in international festivals such as Montreux-Vevey, Lucerne, Orpheum Soloists in Bad Ragaz, Radio-France in Montpellier, Jeunesse Festival at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Bayreuth, Nohant, the Merano, Verbania, Sorrento, San Giovanni Valdarno, PianoSofia Milano, Martina Franca festivals in Italy, the Dubrovnik summer Festival, the Zadar and Varazdin Festivals in Croatia, the Beogradski Prolecni Pijanisticki Festival in Serbia, Pecs Napok in Hungary, Enescu and Lipatti in Bucharest, Lanaudière in Montréal, the Québec Festival d’Eté, the Birmingham Festival of Arts and that of Wolf Trap in Washington. He plays with famous conductors: Foster, Pesko, Lopez Cobos, Krenz, Horvat, Jordan, Sondeckis, Pradella, Mandeal, Viotti, de Stoutz, Neschling, Hausschild and many others.
His piano recordings (Claves, Timpani, Klanglogo labels) include Chopin (Ballades, Préludes), Debussy (Préludes), Mozart (Concerti), Busoni and Raff (1822-82), Honegger and Perrin. Devoted to Frank Martin’s works for piano and orchestra, his first record was distinguished at once by the “Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros” in Paris in 1986, prior to being selected for the IRCA in New-York, along with the twenty best records of the year, by fifty critics from all over the world.
His conducting activities began in 1988. From 1993 to 2002, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Timisoara Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania). He often shoulders both the conducting and the solo part, as in the complete concerti by Mozart and also the Bach, Haydn and even Chopin concerti. In April 1995 at the Atheneum of Bucharest, the UNESCO and the Rumanian Education Ministry presented him with the Dinu Lipatti Medal “as a token of high appreciation”.
Antonioli is in charge of a superior class at the HEMU (Haute Ecole de Musique in Lausanne). He teaches master-classes in Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, and Japan. Various international competitions invite him to take part in their juries.
He premiered works by many composers, among them the first European performance of Henri Dutilleux’s Le Jeu des Contraires (1989).
Two films on Antonioli by W. Wehmeyer (Germany) were made: Hearing Vocation (1998) and Listening Eyes (2000).
His CD recordings for Klanglogo (Chopin, Brahms, Fauré) in the acoustics of the Geneva Victoria-Hall (1888) were particularly appreciated in the USA : “Indeed, for their integrity, nuance, elegance, and not least, quiescence, these are readings that are difficult to match, or even compare to the those of the greatest pianists, such as Michelangeli, Moravec, or even Cortot. His approach to music-making brings to mind that of Dinu Lipatti, Wilhelm Kempff, and Maria Tipo rolled into one, and is no less satisfying.” (John Bell Young, Fanfare, USA, 2015)