Rinaldo Alessandrini

Italian harpsichordist, organist and orchestra conductor (Rome, 1960)

Rinaldo Alessandrini found late in his life his vocation as a land clearer of the Italian music of the 17 and 18th centuries. He enjoyed making it shine as well by playing the harpsichord as in the company of his ensemble, the Concerto Italiano.

Rinaldo Alessandrini was influenced at the age of fourteen by a fellow student to pick up the piano. His teacher passed on to him his admiration for Clara Haskil and suggested he should take a closer look on the true nature of musical textes. After a year of military service at the age of 18, he discovered the harpsichord by chance and fell in love with it. Therefore, he didn't feel the need to carry on piano lessons and completely focused on his new instrument. There was no specialized teaching institutions in Italy and Alessandrini turned to the Netherland to study under Ton Koopman. Those lessons were not so much proper lessons as they were a time to give advice on how to tame the harpsichord. Rinaldo Alessandrini thus can consider himself as an autodidacte. 

Born in Rome, he fed himself from his natal city historical wealth to build bridges between different means of artistic expressions and go deeper into his knowledge of ancient music. He met violinist Fabio Biondi and together they founded the Concerto Italiano, first Italian orchestra playing ancient instruments after the renewal the baroque repertoire had known in Northern Europe. Their work focuses on the vocal repertoire, including the madrigals of Monteverdi, to which Rinaldo Alessandrini gave back their Mediterranean colors after years of British supremacy on the matter. He also addressed the composer's operas and the madrigals of the same period, composed by Monteverdi's contemporaries. Later, he explored Frescobaldi, Gesualdo, Vivaldi, Pergolèse, Bach, Mozart, Rossini… His activity as a soloist musician and a chamber musician are added to his conductor career that goes way beyond the baroque genre limits. His repertoire stretches to the symphonic pieces of the 19th century, that he conducts as the leader of many prestigious formations, such as the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon, the Munich Radio Orchestra...

Six landmark dates in the life of Rinaldo Alessandrini
1979: gave his first chamber music concert
1984: founded the Concerto Italiano
1990: received the Grand prix du disque for his album Frescobaldi
1993: received the Caecilia prize
2003: was made a knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
2009 – 2016: conducted the three operas of Monteverdi in Paris 

Radio France musical documentation biography, May 2014