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 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 di Milano, Orchestra Sinfonica Carlo Coccia di Novara, Camerata Ducale di Vercelli, Orchestra Antonio Vivaldi, Orchestra Sinfonica di Lecco, Orchestra 1813 – AsLiCo) performing around Italy and Europe. 2012 was the year of his debut wearing both the cellist’s and the composer’s hat at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, followed by his participation, always wearing both hats, at festivals and seasons like: Festival Settimane Barocche in Brescia, Festival Violoncellistico Internazionale Alfredo Piatti in Bergamo, Festival Autunno Musicale in Como, Season of the Teatro Sociale in Como, Auditorium in Morbegno – Amici della Musica di Sondalo – where he performed and recorded “Katharsis”, his first work for cello and orchestra. 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 classical contemporary music.
Some of his compositions have been performed by famous artists (Marco Rizzi, Salvatore Accardo, Massimo Quarta, Fulvio Liviabella, Enrico Bronzi, Giovanni Sollima, Sandro Laffranchini, Paolo Beschi, Stefano Cerrato, Leo Morello, Fernando Caida Greco, Floris Onstwedder, Maria Grazia Bellocchio, Alda Caiello), by various instrumental ensembles and orchestras (Milan’s Orchestra Sinfonica G. Verdi, London Sinfonietta, Lecce’s Orchestra Sinfonica T. Schipa, Orchestra Milano Classica, Orchestra Antonio Vivaldi, 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 the latest productions are: a special program for two cellos with his own music (Dialogues in time – baroque and contemporary cello) in a duo with the baroque cellist Paolo Beschi; a commission by the Venice Biennale for the 60th Festival Internazionale di Musica Contemporanea (Contemporary Music Festival); the commission for solo cello and cello and orchestra dedicated to Enrico Bronzi, Giovanni Sollima and Sandro Laffranchini (principal cello at Teatro alla Scala); the commission of symphonic scores for Orchestra Antonio Vivaldi, in collaboration with soloists Marco Rizzi, Floris Onstwedder and Leo Morello, plus a number of recordings for Brilliant, Tactus, EMA Vinci and Sconfinarte.
Founder of Appassionato Ensemble, with which he pursues the promotion of research music also by the means of a dedicated International Composition Competition, and creator of the Como Contemporary Festival – International Contemporary Music and Other Arts Festival – since 2016 he’s the artistic director of Associazione Culturale Polifonie, through which he promotes the diffusion of contemporary music, also among young people and emerging artists. 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.
All of his works are published by Edizioni Musicali Sconfinarte.