Lorenzo Gatto *
‘Above all, I want to sound honest. There is fragility in my tone, it is a reflection of who I am as a person. That is what music is to me: an expression of human fragility.’
When Lorenzo Gatto studied violin at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel – with dreams of law, math and becoming an aeronautical engineer – the first encounter with the Queen Elisabeth Competition turned out to be a confronting experience. He felt the need to start anew, and studied for four years with Boris Kuschnir in Vienna. This resulted in winning both Second Prize and the Public’s Prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition 2009.
The invitation to the ‘Rising Star’ 2010 programme expanded the possibilities of collaboration with fellow instrumentalists, orchestras and conductors – amongst them Philippe Herreweghe, Vladimir Spivakov, Walter Weller, Jan Willem de Vriend, Jaap van Zweden, Martin Sieghart, Andrey Boreyko and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Recently, Lorenzo has started collaborating with the talented young Belgian pianist Julien Libeer. He makes recordings on a regular basis.
Gatto: ’From my teachers Véronique Bogaerts, Augustin Dumay, Herman Krebbers and Kuschnir, I have understood that to discover musical ideas whilst playing, and letting the music grow in a natural way, takes a lot of time in preparation. Sometimes old masters give the impression of playing slower than we do today. It’s surely not a question of tempo: it’s a question of relaxing, of savouring every note, of taking the time to understand.’
On the 2015 recording of Beethoven, François Lafon wrote: ’Style, tone, musicality, inventiveness: Lorenzo Gatto is the true heir of the famous Franco-Belgian school of violin – from Vieuxtemps through Ysaÿe, Grumiaux and Dumay. His Concerto breathes freely but without pathos, his Romances are lyrical wonders.’
Gatto: ’And even though I always study every piece very well, I never really finish the work completely. Many violinists who succeed today look for the highest control and solidity. I can’t do that – I just don’t conceive music to be that way. My role is perhaps to rethink how to play on stage. It is as with giving the world premiere of Mernier’s Violin Concerto: to hear the music from the inside and then build it on the spot, without a safety net.’
An avid sportsman, Lorenzo uses his flying skills and love for paragliding much in the same way. ‘You need to focus, otherwise your life may be in danger. Everything else becomes superfluous. Being in nature, you effectively master freedom. This magical experience is, in essence, no different than in making music and performing.’
Trilogy is a separate endeavour, to balance out the classical career. Together with violinists and close friends Hrachya Avanesyan and Yossif Ivanov, Lorenzo started this pop trio in 2011. Arrangements and own compositions present new ways of listening to the sound world of strings.
Lorenzo Gatto (Brussels, 1986) is born out of Belgian-Italian parents. He plays a J.B. Vuillaume from 1864.
Recent highlights include:
• Slovenian Radio Orchestra conducted by Martin Sieghart: Alban Berg – Violin Concerto (October 2013)
• Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège conducted by Christian Arming: Alexander Glazunov – Violin Concerto (March 2014)
• Kuopio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alberto Hold-Garrido: Camille Saint-Saëns – Violin Concerto No.3 and Ernest Chausson – Poème (May 2015)
• Belgian National Orchestra conducted by Andrey Boreyko: Benoit Mernier – World première of Violin Concerto (dedicated to Lorenzo Gatto) (February 2015)
• Beethoven Festival at Flagey, Brussels. Complete Violin Sonatas with Maria João Pires, Augustin Dumay and Julien Libeer (April 2016)