MICHELE CAMPANELLA, piano – concertmaster – writer

Posted 28. August 2020

L ’intégrale des Années de Pèlerinage par un éminent spécialiste de Franz Liszt, joué sur un Steinway ancien de la fin du XIXème siècle, et qui enregistre l’œuvre pour la première fois à 73 ans… peu banal, vous le reconnaîtrez. Le pianiste napolitain nous livre ici une performance aussi chaude et organique que les timbres de son instrument, à l’instar d’un café alla nocciola du Vero bar del Professore… En ce qui me concerne, c’est le grand frisson.
Joël Chevassus, Audiophile-Magazine (Grand Frisson 2020)


Unusual biography

I am Neapolitan in spirit, by family and of schooling. I tend towards pessimism, but am saved by self-irony. Already at 5 I was searching for music, I improvised and taught myself, then I had the extraordinary luck to encounter a great teacher; once I finished high school, I began to get serious. I participated in only one international piano competition and I won it. For fifty years I’ve been looking for “the sound” and still am I. I have many favorite composers and yet I am defined as a Franz Liszt specialist. Of course I don’t love this label, but I have the highest regard for the man. Here is one of his quotes that I would like to borrow: «All that one can do, is walk straight in all simplicity with little explanation to others of the how and why…» … Do not call me a pianist, I prefer the word “musician”: with the first word we think of the hands, with the second one we think of the heart and the brain…

Michele Campanella


Usual biography

Michele Campanella has interpreted in 55 years of career most of the major piano repertoire. He has performed with the principal European and American orchestras (Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony) and collaborated with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Eliahu Inbal, Charles Mackerras, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Georges Prêtre, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Thomas Schippers, Hubert Soudant, Pinchas Steinberg and Christian Thielemann.

In the last years, Campanella’s career as conductor/soloist has been developed performing with several prestigious Italian orchestras, such as the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the Orchestra da Camera di Padova e del Veneto, I Filarmonici di Verona, the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento. His repertoire as a concertmaster includes all Mozart’s and Beethoven’s concertos for piano and orchestra, Brahms’ second concerto, Saint-Saëns fourth and fifth concerto, Liszt’s concerti, Ravel’s concerto in G, Poulenc’s concerto.

In addition to his work as a musician, Campanella is a writer. The first book he wrote is “Il mio Liszt. Considerazioni di un interprete” (My Liszt. Thoughts of an interpreter), a literary homage dedicated to his beloved composer published in 2011 by Bompiani, one of the major Italian publishing houses. Then he wrote “Quisquilie e pinzillacchere, Storia di un musicista napoletano raccontata a un amico” (“Trifles and silly things”, history of a Neapolitan musician told to a friend), published by Castelvecchi in 2017. In 2019, the same publisher released “Suono. Pensieri e divagazioni di un musicista fuori dal coro” (Sound. Thoughts and digressions of a musician outside of the box). A new book, “Années de pèlerinage”, will soon be published.

In 2017 he founded in Naples the successful “Spinacorona, Neapolitan music walks” festival, an innovative music event that combines concerts with the discovery of the Parthenopean historical treasures by walking in the magnificent heart of the city.

Michele Campanella is a dedicated and passionate teacher, he was head of the piano department at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena for 25 years.

In Autumn 2020 he released Liszt’s complete “Années de pèlerinage” on Odradek Records. Next projects on disc and on stage include Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, that will be released in Summer 2021.

NEXT concerts 


12th and 13th of November, Teatro Filarmonico di Verona (Italy), with Orchestra Arena di Verona

RECENT concerts 


December 23rd, Reggia di Portici, Festival Spinacorona (Italy), Beethoven’s sonata n. 32 Op. 111 introduced by Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus. WATCH the concert

December 11th, Siena, season Micat In Vertice (Accademia Chigiana), Beethoven’s sonatas (n. 30 Op. 109, n. 31 Op. 110 and n. 32 Op. 111). WATCH the concert

October 25th, Naples, Teatro Diana/Maggio della Musica. Four hands programme with Monica Leone, featuring works by Debussy, Fauré and Rachmaninov.

21st and 22nd October, soloist and concertmaster with the Orchestra della Toscana at the Teatro Verdi in Florence performing as a soloist and concertmaster Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 K. 467 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. Op.73, “Emperor Concerto”. Review by Gregorio Moppi on La Repubblica

September 26th, Rome – Palazzo Poli (Sala Dante), “Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica”. Debut of Beethoven’s nine symphony for two pianos transcribed by Franz Liszt, in duo with Monica Leone.