Posted 28. August 2020

Campanella generally opts for spacious tempos, giving the music room to speak, and excels in capturing its sequence of moods and sounds.
BBC Music Magazine about his disc “Wagner & Verdi Transcriptions


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


Internationally acclaimed as one of the major virtuoso interpreters of Liszt, three-time winner of the Grand Prix du Disque awarded by the prestigious Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest (1976, 1977 and 1998), the latter for his recording “Franz Liszt-The Great Transcriptions, I-II” (Philips), Michele Campanella has interpreted in over 45 years of career most of the major piano repertoire. He has been awarded the “Liszt high merit” medal by the Hungarian government in 1986 and the American Liszt Society Medal in 2002. Trained at the Vincenzo Vitale School in Naples, Michele Campanella is a very versatile artist. This has enabled him to face composers like Clementi, Weber, Poulenc, Busoni (1980 “Italian Discographic Critic Award” for his Fonit Cetra recordings), Rossini, Brahms, Ravel and Liszt. He has recently recorded an anthology of Liszt paraphrases, the 12 Transcendental Studies, and a selection of works from the late period played on Liszt’s own original Bechstein piano.


Next projects on disc and on stage include Liszt’s complete “Années de pèlerinage”, that will be released in Autumn 2020 as well as Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, that will be released in 2021. Both projects will be released on Odradek records. With customary modesty and respect for the composer’s music Michele Campanella has chosen to wait until now to record the seminal Années de pèlerinage. On this new release he says: “The desire to tackle the Années dates back to 50 years ago, when I started playing the Dante Sonata, Vallée d’Obermann and Les Jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este. For a long time I have not felt sufficiently at home within the complex structure of these three cycles. That aim, then, needed me to advance with age, to understand the great psychological leap that Liszt had experienced. I have consciously tried to underline the introspective side of a composer who is still considered today as someone exclusively histrionic. I hope that Liszt, from the Champs Elysees, agrees with me.”


Next performances on stage include Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 K. 467 and Beethoven Piano Concerto No. Op.73, “Emperor Concerto”, that he will perform also as a concertmaster leading the “Orchestra della Toscana” at the  Teatro Verdi in Florence on the 21st and 22nd  of October 2020.