Conductor, pianist and composer Giulio Cilona is currently working as Kapellmeister at the Hannover Staatsoper, where he will lead the productions of Dialogues des Carmélites, Der Zirkusprinzessin (E. Kálmán) as well as performances of Tosca, La Bohème, L’Orfeo (Monteverdi) during the 22/23 season. In the last season, he conducted the premieres of Le Nozze di Figaro (Stage director: Lydia Steier, live-streamed on Operavision), Humanoid as well as the revivals of Hänsel und Gretel, Cosi fan Tutte, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and performances of Sweeney Todd, L’Elisir d’Amore and Marschner’s Der Vampyr. Since 2021, he is a conducting fellow at the Dirigentenforum (Deutscher Musikrat).

Giulio completed his studies in orchestra conducting at the Mozarteum Universität Salzburg with Bruno Weil and was awarded the Bernhard-Paumgartner-Medaille by the Stiftung Mozarteum in 2019. Already during his studies, Giulio worked as an assistant and repetiteur for the Salzburger Oster- and Sommerfestspiele in collaboration with the Dresden Semperoper and as an assistant to the General Music Director at the Salzburg Landestheater. Giulio also overtook numerous opera performances at the Mozarteum like AlcinaLa Finta SempliceLes Contes d’Hoffmann, Philippe Boesmans’ opera Reigen with the Österreichisches Ensemble für neue Musik, and worked closely with the Opéra Studio de Genève on works like Rigoletto, Tannhäuser, Cosi Fan Tutte and Madama Butterfly.

Giulio’s recent performances as a conductor included Mahler 5th Symphony at the Stadttheater Wels, Brahms 2nd Symphony with the Badreichenhall Philharmonie, concert versions of Don Giovanni and Der Freischutz at the Mozarteum Salzburg and collaboration with the Neubrandenburg Philharmonie (Soloist: Tobias Feldmann) and the Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe (Soloist: Friedrich Thiele) through the Dirigentenforum. Giulio also studied at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover (Master Piano Konzertfach) and at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel, where he graduated with a Magna cum Lauda mention on his 3 Bachelor’s degrees in Piano, Conducting, Composition, Counterpoint and Fugue. From the age of 13, he studied at the Institut Supérieur de Musique et de Pédagogie (Namur, Belgium) in the exceptional young talent program.

As a composer, Giulio premiered his Concertino for piano and orchestra at age 18 at the Europa Musa Festival and conducted the premiere of his miniature theatre piece Le Petit Chaperon Rouge with the Odysseia Ensemble in Brussels. Giulio recently conducted his compositions at the Théâtre Royal de Namur with the symphonic choirs and Orchestre de La Concorde, a total formation of over 200 musicians.

As a pianist soloist, he performed Beethoven 2nd Concerto, Gershwin Concerto in F  (live-streamed on EuroClassical Planet), Addinsell Warsaw Concerto, Stravinsky Petrushka and Mozart Piano Concerto Nr. 21 with the Wratislawia Chamber Orchestra (Poland), Limburg Youth Orchestra, Europa Musa Orchestra among others. He took part in several piano competitions and was awarded prizes at Aarhus International Piano Competition, Concours Andrée Charlier, Prix des Jeunes de Verviers, Concours Rotary Breughel (BruxellesFlagey Studio4) and Concours Cavatine after which he was offered a recital tour in Morocco by the Rotary-Club Namur at age 11.

As parallel instrumental practice, Giulio studied harpsichord and collaborated with Reinhard Göbel and with conductor Jean-Marie Curti in the field of historical instrumental practice. He took part as a continuo player in numerous oratorios and baroque operas. Giulio also worked regularly as an organist for many Belgian churches and has performed on many renowned instruments such as the organs in the Cathedrâle Saint-Nicolas de Genève, the ‘Franz Liszt Organ’ at the Fribourg Cathedral, Basilica San Lorenzo di Firenze, Basilique de Verdun, Cathedrâle du Sablon de Bruxelles, etc. He also studied violin and trumpet in his early years.

 

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    Aarhus Piano Competition – Photo by Tom Mckenzie

Critics 

Was Dirigent Giulio Cilona an diesem Abend der Staatsoper Hannover mit Mozarts Figaro an musikalische Warhaftigkeit erreicht hat, das lässt vermuten, dass man einen so guten Dirigenten wohl kaum lange in Hannover halten können. Cilona zeigte ein außerordentliches Gespür für das richtige Pointieren, Phrasieren und Artikulieren dieser Musik. Er spitzte genauso zu, wie er perfekt ausbalancierte. (Cellesche Zeitung, 22.01.2022) – Le Nozze di Figaro, Premiere in Hannover.

Translation: What the conductor Giulio Cilona achieved in terms of musical authenticity on this evening at the Hanover State Opera with Mozart’s Figaro suggests that such a great conductor can hardly be kept in Hanover for long. Cilona showed an extraordinary feeling for the correct accents, phrasing and articulation of this music. He brings in spark but also a perfect sound balance. (Cellesche Zeitung, 22.01.2022)

Aber nicht nur auf der Bühne werden musikalische Glanzstunden geboten, auch aus dem Orchestergraben tönt es geradezu fantastisch. Dort begeistert Giulio Cilona am Dirigentenpult durch seine außerordentliche Feinfühligkeit, mit der er das Niedersächsische Staatsorchester durch Mozarts Partitur führt. Das Orchester spielt klanglich strahlend und elegant, doch ebenso markant in den Phrasierungen, was bereits in der Ouvertüre deutlich wird und das Publikum auf einen musikalisch wertvollen Opernabend vorbereitet. (Kultur Feder, 24.01)

Translation: Not only on stage musical highlights are offered, it also sounds fantastic from the orchestra pit. There Giulio Cilona inspires at the conductor’s podium with his extraordinary sensitivity with which he leads the Lower Saxony State Orchestra through Mozart’s score. The orchestra plays brilliantly and elegantly. And the phrasing is just as striking, which clearly already from the Overture prepares the audience for a musically valuable evening at the opera. (Kultur Feder, 24.01)

Die musikalische Seite der Aufführung besticht maßgeblich durch das souveräne Dirigat von Giulio Cilona. Die Tempi sind extrem schnell genommen. Dabei wird jedweder überzogene Hochdruck oder eine etwaige Atemlosigkeit der Sänger oder Orchestermusiker vermieden. Vielmehr gelingt eine Dynamik in Spiel und Gesang, die die komisch-verwirrenden mit den verstörenden Elementen des Geschehens auf überraschende Weise verbinden. Es ist frappierend zu hören, dass eine solche hohe Meisterschaft von den Solisten und vom Orchester den gesamten Abend über durchgehalten werden kann. Das Niedersächsische Staatsorchester Hannover übertrifft sich hier selbst.

Translation: The musical side of the performance captivates significantly through the sovereign conducting of Giulio Cilona. The tempos are taken extremely quickly, yet any high pressure or possible breathlessness of the singers or orchestra musicians is avoided. Rather, a dynamic in playing and singing succeeds, which combines the comically confusing with the disturbing elements of the action in a surprising way. It is amazing to hear that such a high level of mastery can be maintained by the soloists and the orchestra throughout the evening. The Lower Saxony State Orchestra in Hanover surpasses itself here. (O-Ton, 20.01)

Audio & Videos

Le Nozze di Figaro – Premiere in Hannover State Opera 20.01.22 – Livestream on Operavision

Livestreamed Performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTwwp9BIPyQ&t

Conductor video interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUPNWlCxby4

Haydn – Piano Sonata No.46 in E Major (I) – Recording in Belgium – Giulio Cilona, Piano.

Gershwin – Concerto in F – Norbert Nozy, Conductor – Giulio Cilona, Piano.

Aarhus Piano Competition 2017 – Giulio Cilona, Piano.

M.Ravel “Miroirs”: 4. ‘Alborada del Gracioso’ – Recording in Namur – Giulio Cilona, Piano.