Umberto Pedraglio is an avant-garde and eclectic musician in the contemporary Italian panorama. His experimental composition features great thematic wealth, timbral exploration, rhythmic expressivity and is inspired by the discovery of new aesthetic forms.
“…an experienced and sensitive musician, he perfectly combines the best qualities of the performer with the imagination of an inspired author…“
(Ivan Fedele, composer)
“As a cellist, Pedraglio explores the timbric possibilities of the instrument, pushing it in the area of non-conventional sounds combined in the most varied ways possible. In the most rarefied moments, the sound becomes dust, extreme evanescence.”
Born in Como in 1978, he studied cello with Guido Boselli and Paolo Beschi at Como Music Conservatory, later specializing in cello with Giovanni Gnocchi, Stefano Cerrato, Siegfried Palm, Enrico Bronzi and Giovanni Sollima. He graduated summa cum laude and a mention in Composition, under the tutelage of Carlo Ballarini and Ivan Fedele at Como’s Conservatory, pursuing his studies with Azio Corghi and Mauro Bonifacio at Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, and with Alessandro Solbiati at Milan’s Conservatory. He took part in international masterclasses with George Benjamin, Wolfgang Rihm, Anders Hillborg, João Pedro Oliveira, Jean-Claude Risset, Stefano Gervasoni and Claudio Ambrosini. He specialized under Ivan Fedele’s baton at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, winning the “Hausmann & Co. – Patek Philippe” prize in 2013.
He collaborated as a soloist and principal cellist among different Italian orchestras (Orchestra Sinfonica G. Verdi in Milan, Orchestra Teatro Coccia in Novara, Camerata Ducale in Vercelli, Orchestra Antonio Vivaldi) and with well known jazzists (Chris Collins, Paolo Tomelleri, Emilio Soana, Arrigo Cappelletti), performing around Italy and Europe, and recording for several discographic labels. In 2012 he debuted at Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, both as a soloist and as a composer, performing in a world premiére some of his works for solo cello and for cello and piano. In this role he also held a recital at Teatro Sociale in Como, where his piece “Dialoghi”, commissioned by the Theatre for EXPO 2015, was premiered. Many of his performances have been broadcast by radio and TV stations (RAI1, RAI3, CNBC-SKI, RTSI, RaiRadio3, Radio Classica, and Euroclassical). Pedraglio mostly performs as soloist and in chamber groups, ranging from the duo to ensemble instrumentation, featuring a repertoire based on 20th century and contemporary music.
Some of his compositions have been performed by famous artists (Salvatore Accardo, Massimo Quarta, Enrico Bronzi, Giovanni Sollima, Sandro Laffranchini, Stefano Cerrato, Paolo Beschi, Fernando Caida Greco, Fulvio Liviabella, Maria Grazia Bellocchio, Alda Caiello, Alessandro Cadario), by various instrumental ensembles and orchestras (Milan’s Orchestra Sinfonica G. Verdi, London Sinfonietta, Lecce’s Orchestra Sinfonica T. Schipa, Orchestra Milano Classica, Dèdalo Ensemble, Quartetto Indaco, On TheBridge Cello Ensemble, New Made Ensemble, Alt(r)e Frequenze, Ensemble Novecento, Duo Tubi & Corde) and broadcast by radios, among which RaiRadio3. With his composition “Fasi” for cello solo and ensemble he was finalist at “…a Camillo Togni” VI International Composition Competition in Brescia. Among his latest collaborations there are the realization of a theatre project, with his compositions and texts by the famous Italian poet Alessandro Quattrone (Montale Prize 1994), a work commissioned by La Biennale di Venezia 2016 for the 60th International Festival of Contemporary Music, a cello concerto composed for the cellist Enrico Bronzi and the commission of new pieces by Giovanni Sollima and Sandro Laffranchini (principal cellist of Teatro alla Scala). Next works includes scores dedicated to Marco Rizzi, Giuliano Sommerhalder, Swiss Chamber Soloists (Ilya Gringolts, Daniel Haefliger, Lawrence Power), Milan Cathedral Choir, Orchestra Antonio Vivaldi and the publication of several recording projects (Brilliant, Tactus, EMA Vinci, Sconfinarte). All of his works are published by Edizioni Musicali Sconfinarte.
Founder of Appassionato Ensemble and of Como Contemporary Festival– International Contemporary Music and Arts Festival, he’s been the artistic director of Associazione Culturale Polifonie, which he uses to promote the diffusion of contemporary classical music, also among the young and emerging artists since 2016. After having obtained a master’s degree in Didactics for Musical Instruments and having passed the professorship competition based on exams and qualifications, he is the titular teacher of Cello at Music High School “T. Ciceri” in Como. Since 2012, he has been teaching in a cello masterclass every year at Landesakademie für die Musizierende Jugend in Ochsenhausen, one of the most important musical academies for young musicians in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Umberto plays a period cello dating back to the late 1700s by Pierre Auguste Mauchand.