Vittorio Ghielmi | © Z. Hanakova
Department Head


Vittorio Ghielmi

Univ.-Prof. for Viola da GambaDepartment Early Music
The Milanese gambist and conductor Vittorio Ghielmi has already been compared to J. Heifetz for his virtuosity -  for his development of a new concept of sound  called the "shaman of sound". In addition to his work in classical music, his collaborations with traditional as well as jazz musicians* and musical theater make him not only a particularly versatile artist, but also a teacher who pays attention to the development of the "inner gesture" as the basis of movement and music.
The Milan-born viol player, conductor and composer has been compared to Jascha Haifetz (Diapason) because of his virtuosity, and has been called the "alchemist of sound" or "shaman of sound" because he developed a new musical language and a new vision of the sound of the old repertoire ("il suonar parlante": the speaking sound). He is head of the Department for Early Music and Univ.-Prof. for viola da gamba at the Mozarteum University and visiting professor at the Royal College of Music London (RCM). His ensemble IL SUONAR PARLANTE ORCHESTRA, founded in 2007 together with the Argentine singer Graciela Gibelli, has been invited to concert halls all over the world. Vittorio Ghielmi regularly works as a soloist or conductor with the most famous orchestras (Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at Bowl Hall Hollywood, London Philharmonia, Il Giardino Armonico, Freiburger Barockorchester etc.) and performs in duo with his brother Lorenzo Ghielmi or with the lutenist Luca Pianca (Swiss Music Prize 2019) invited to the most prestigious halls.  He has also taken part in numerous world premieres (K. Volans, White man's sleep, Teatro Regio Torino; N. Vassena, Bagatelle trascendentali, Berliner Philarmonie; Uri Caine Concerto for viola da gamba and orchestra, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Concerto for viol, basset-horn and orchestra, Vienna Musikverein etc.). As one of the leading representatives of the early music scene, he shared the stage with artists such as G. Leonhardt (Duo), C. Bartoli, R. Goebel, V. Mullova, G. Antonini, Andràs Schiff, T. Quasthoff, but also with jazz stars like Uri Caine, Kenny Wheeler, P. Fresu, Markus Stockhausen and the flamenco singer Carmen Linares.  For three years he was Riccardo Muti's assistant at the Salzburg Festival. In 2007 he conceived a performance of Buxtehude's "Membra Jesu Nostri" cycle directed and videoed by US filmmaker Marc Reshovsky (Hollywood) and with the Rilke ensemble choir (G. Eriksson, Sweden). He has been artist-in-residence at prestigious festivals: Madrid Cuenca 2007, Musikfest Stuttgart 2010, Segovia 2011, Bozar Brussels 2011. In 2009 he performed the complete works of Forqueray live for De Bijloke, Ghent (B), on three evenings.  
In the summer of 2018 he conducted Rameau's opera Pygmalion at the Drottningholms Slottsteater (Royal Theater in Stockholm, directed by Saburo Teshigawara), which was described by the Financial Times as follows: "Indeed it has been some time since the theater was so wonderful and innovative was used". In February 2020 he made his debut in Toronto with his musical performance "Dreaming Jupiter", a dialogue between soloist and orchestra (Tafelmusic-Orchestra), which was enthusiastically received by critics and audiences alike. His 30-year association with luthier and humanist Luc Breton, a master of the traditional arts, enabled the understanding and application of highly effective processes of instrument making, learning and musical performance that have been forgotten in modern schools. A highly respected pedagogue, he has published a worldwide viola da gamba method (with P. Biordi, ed. Ut Orpheus) and has given master classes at the most important conservatories and universities (Juillard School NY, Accademia Chigiana di Siena, Conservatoire Royale de Bruxelles, University of the Arts Berlin etc.
He holds a PhD from the Catholic University of Milan and has always combined his musical practice with a passion for historical and musicological research. He was awarded the Erwin Bodky Award (Boston, USA) for his field studies and creations related to ancient musical traditions that are still alive. His collaboration with the traditional musicians of the Cuncordu de Orosei is documented in the film The Heart of Sound, BFMI (Salzburg-Hollywood). His work as an arranger/composer was awarded the prestigious Klassik Echo Prize of German television (2015) for the CD The Passion of Music (Sony- Deutsche Harmonia Mundi) with Dorothee Oberlinger. There are countless recordings and critical awards: the most recent CDs, Gypsy Baroque (with Moldovan musicians Marcel Comendant and Stanislav Palúch) and Le Secret de Mr. Marais, were recently released by Alpha (Outhere, Paris). He is active in the field of music publishing (eds. Fuzeau, Minkoff, Libroforte).