Aldo Ciccolini

Italian classical pianist (Naples, August 15th, 1925 – Asnières-sur-Seine, February 1st, 2015)

Great performer and promoter of the French composers of the 20th Century as well as of an often neglected repertoire, Italian and French pianist Aldo Ciccolini became a key figure in the history of music and author of more than 100 recordings.

Aldo Ciccolini was born in Naples in a music-loving family on the 15th of August 1925; Naples was where he started his music studies: in fact, the young piano prodigy entered Naples Conservatory at the age of 9, by special permission of the director, Francesco Cilea.

After playing at the Teatro San Carlo in 1941, Aldo Ciccolini traveled to Paris and in 1949 he won ex-aequo (tied) with Ventsislav Yankov the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition, after performing Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1.

He started his international career shortly after, in 1950 in New York City, under the direction of Dimitri Mitropoulos.

Ciccolini performed the piano music from the French composers Debussy, Ravel or Saint-Saëns all over the world, he was a strong advocate of the most famous composers of the 20th Century. He also wanted to exhume less prominent composers (Alexis de Castillon, Déodat de Sévérac…) and made several recordings of the works of Erik Satie, whom he greatly admired.  

He performed as a soloist with the most important symphony orchestras, playing in countless countries with the greatest conductors, such as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Dmitri Shostakovich, Pierre Monteux, and many more.

He regularly visited recording studios, where he gave birth to a rich and varied repertoire of more than a hundred recordings. In 1972, the Italian pianist was awarded a prize by the Académie du Disque, and his Ravel concerts made him win the prestigious "Prix Charles Cros de l'Académie du Disque" in 1976 

At the end of the 1960s he became a French citizen and, soon after, he started teaching at the Conservatoire de Paris from 1970; he worked selflessly devoting himself to this job, which he would never give up.

Four landmark dates in the life of Aldo Ciccolini
1949: he won the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition

1971: he started teaching at the Paris Conservatory

1971: Aldo Ciccolini became a French citizen

1972: Ciccolini was awarded a prize by the Académie du Disque