Carlo Aonzo, a native of Savona, Italy came from a musical family. His initial mandolin teacher was his father. Carlo went on to study with Ugo Orlandi, the current patriarch of the Italian mandolin camp, at the Cesare Pollini Conservatory of Padua. His playing has been recognized with awards at prestigious competitions including the “Vivaldi” prize of the 6th annual Vittorio Pitzianti National Mandolin Competition in Venice as well as the 27th annual Walnut Valley National Mandolin Contest in Winfield, Kansas.
Aonzo created and directed the winter Festival Internazionale di Mandolino in Varazze, Italy. He is an active scholar of historic mandolinists and mandolin repertoire and has contributed to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. He is a regular faculty member at the mandolin-oriented Kaufman Kamp in Tennessee and teaches popular annual workshops in New York City. In 2006, Carlo founded the International Academy of Italian Mandolin, an annual workshop in Savona dedicated to promoting the art of Italian classical mandolin playing.
Carlo has toured throughout northern Europe, Italy, and the USA as a soloist or with chamber ensembles and orchestras. He has worked with respected musical institutions including La Scala Philharmonic, Milan. As director of the Orchestra a Pizzico Ligure, he has been called to play in the presence of Pope John Paul II. His recent collaborations with guitarists Rene Izquierdo in the US and Katsumi Kagaoka in Europe have resulted in successful concert tours and an exciting new CD.
Carlo’s recorded output reflects his scholarship and passion to both champion the mandolin’s forgotten past and to develop its classical tradition into the future. He has recorded Paganini’s complete works for mandolin on period mandolino Genovese (Integrale per Amandorlino & Chitarra Francese, Arion). His recordings have also featured the works of early 20th century Italian virtuosi with guitarist Beppe Gambetta (Serenata, Acoustic Music Records) and Italian immigrants to America with Gambetta and mandolinist David Grisman (Traversata, Acoustic Disc). For Mel Bay, he has recorded an in-studio video concert of solo mandolin repertoire (Carlo Aonzo: Classical Mandolin Virtuoso) and was featured in Mandolin 2000. His Orchestra a Pizzico Ligure's recording of arrangements of Vivaldi concerti is a rare demonstration of the rich sonority of a modern, active mandolin orchestra. His exciting new CD Kaze with guitarist Katsumi Nagaoka both offers a respectful nod to historic repertoire and premiers lively, sophisticated new composition.
Kaze, with guitarist Katsumi Nagaoka (Accademia Internazionale di Mandolino, 634479673733) 2007
Antonio Vivaldi: Concerti per Mandolino e Concerti per Orchestra, Orchestra a Pizzico Ligure, Carlo Aonzo soloist and director (EDT, WM035) 2004
Traversata, with guitarist Beppe Gambetta and manodlinist David Grisman (Acoustic Disc, ACD-47) 2001
Carlo Aonzo: Classical Mandolin Virtuoso Video (Mel Bay, Inc, MB97775VX) 1999
Niccolo Paganini: Integrale per Amandorlino & Chitarra Francese, with guitarist Sandro Volta (Arion, ARN 68420) 1998
Serenata, with guitarist Beppe Gambetta (Acoustic Music, AMC 1136) 1997