Since winning the prestigious VI. Salzburg International Mozart Composition Competition in 1995, Simone Fontanelli has been considered as one of the most interesting and authentic contemporary musical personalities.
As composer and conductor he has been invited to many international Festivals in Italy, Austria, England, Spain, Hungary, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Kazachistan, Israel, Taiwan, Thailand and the USA.
He has always received the highest praise for his works: "I treasure his talent very highly" (György Kurtág). "Fontanelli's music is poetically beautiful, touching" (Muzsika, Hungarian Music Magazine) and his interpretations as a conductor: "It is rare that one's music is prepared with such sensitivity and insight, combined with such superb technical skill" (George Crumb).
His compositions are performed worldwide by the greatest artists. In 2011 his childrens' opera "Es war ein einmal Stück Holz" ("Once Upon A Time There Was a Piece of Wood") after C. Collodi's Pinocchio, commissioned and co-produced by the Cologne Gürzenich-Orchester and the Cologne Kinderoper, was a great success and all performances were sold out that it had to be represented again in 2013.
Fontanelli has received commissions from several institutions, festivals and performing artists. Recent commissions include a new cello concerto for the famous Italian cellist Enrico Bronzi (premiere, March 2018), a new work commissioned by the Musikfestspiele Sanssouci Potsdam (written for Dorothee Oberlinger and Dmitry Sinkovsky) and a clarinet concerto for Robert Oberaigner and the Staatskapelle Dresden, all of these to be premiered in 2018.
As a conductor, Mr. Fontanelli has worked extensively. In 2004 he was founder and conductor of the Amadeus Kammerorchester Salzburg, an acclaimed chamber orchestra devoted to the classical repertoire and whose members were some of the best Alumni of the Salzburg Mozarteum University.
Mr. Fontanelli’s repertoire focuses on the classics (Mozart and Haydn particularly) and on the contemporaries. Mr. Fontanelli has conducted the premiere of many contemporary works, including his own, as well as celebrated works by Berio, Boulez, Carter, Crumb, Donatoni, Henze, Kurtàg, Ligeti, Maderna, Schnittke, Takemitsu, Varèse and many others.
From 2003 to 2009 Mr. Fontanelli was the Director of the Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music (Brunswick, ME - USA) and a member of the distinguished faculty/artist roster of the prestigious Bowdoin Summer Music Festival in Brunswick, a position he has also held in 2008 at the Mozarteum International Summer Academy in Salzburg. Since 2000 he has been on the faculty of the University of Mozarteum in Salzburg where he teaches Instrumental Contemporary Music Performance.
He has been invited to give masterclasses and lectures at many important universities in Europe, Asia and America including the Juilliard School in New York, the Lamont School in Denver, the Yehudi Menuhin School, the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, the F. Liszt Academy in Budapest, Tchaikovski Conservatory in Moskow and many others.
Mr. Fontanelli was born in 1961 in Milan. He studied guitar. He also studied Philosophy at the University of Milan. In 1989, he graduated in Composition from the Conservatorio of Milano. Mr. Fontanelli studied conducting in Hungary.