Born in Milan, Giovanni Antonini studied at the Civica Scuola di Musica and 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, the 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 Orchestra and Basel Chamber Orchestra.
Maestro Antonini 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, he is also a regular guest with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Tonhalle and Mozarteum Orchestras, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the London and Chicago Symphony Orchestras.
His opera productions have included Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaroand Handel’s Alcinaat La Scala, Milan and the Zurich Opera, Handel’s Giulio Cesareand Bellini’s Normawith Cecilia Bartoli at the Salzburg Festival. In 2018 he returned to Zurich for Idomeneo. In the 2018/19 season, performances include debuts with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony (soloists Viktoria Mullova & Avi Avital) and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, return visits to the Basel Chamber Orchestra for concert performances of Fidelioand Don Giovanni, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for Mozart symphonies and Gluck & Mozart arias with Magdalena Kozena, as well as Handel’s Orlandoat the Theater an der Wien.
With Il Giardino Armonico, 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 recent years he has been recording with Il Giardino Armonico for Decca, including Alleluiawith Julia Lezhneva. With the Basel Chamber Orchestra 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 Normafor Decca in collaboration with the Orchestra La Scintilla.
Giovanni Antonini is Artistic Director of the Haydn2032 project created to realise a vision to record and perform – with Il Giardino Amonico and the Basel Chamber Orchestra – the complete symphonies of Joseph Haydn by the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Volumes 1-6 have been released on the Alpha Classics label with two further volumes planned for release each year in the future.