Italian cellist Massimiliano Martinelli is one of the most talented musicians on the international scene today. His album “Bach – Complete Cello Suites”, published under the Halidonmusic label, quickly surpassed 4 million views on YouTube after its initial release – making it one of the most popular recordings of the Bach Suites for Solo Cello on the platform. He made his solo debut in 2007 at the Ravenna Festival in Italy where he performed the “Concerto Grosso for Three Cellos and Orchestra” by Krzysztof Penderecki, under the baton of the composer himself. Since then, he has performed at numerous concert festivals throughout Europe and Asia performing many of the most beloved works in the repertoire – including both of Haydn's Concertos, the Schumann Concerto the first Shostakovich Concerto, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. His discography, published under the Halidon label, includes in addition to the aforementioned Bach Suites, Reger’s
3 Suites, Cassado’s Suite and Kodaly’s Solo Sonata.
Together with his wife, cellist Fulvia Mancini, they founded a Cello Duo known as
“Mr & Mrs Cello” in 2017 with the intent of expanding their musical reach to new audiences as well as to explore different musical genres and repertoire. They have so far published five books of arrangements of popular music for two cellos with the American publishing house Hal-Leonard which are available all over the world at major music stores. These original arrangements range from the Classical Two-Part Inventions by Bach (their recording of this album currently has over 5 million views on YouTube), to the virtuosic works of Paganini, to the neoclassical music of Ludovico Einaudi all the way to the popular rock music of Nirvana and Amy Winehouse.
The arrangements that Mr and Mrs. Cello have composed and performed together are not only responsible for bringing the cello to a wider audience but are no doubt responsible for encouraging the next generation of cellists the world over to pick up the instrument for the first time. A passionate teacher since his early teens, he has for the past decade been asked to hold masterclasses at various locations around the world, including at the ZHDK in Zurich, Switzerland; the University of Hokkaido in Japan; several Italian Conservatories, and the Conservatory of Zurich. Since 2019 he has been Cello Professor at the ‘Puccini’ Conservatory in Gallarate, Italy.
Together with his solo work, Massimiliano has years of orchestral experience serving as Principal Cellist with various orchestras. At the age of 23 he was chosen by Maestro Riccardo Muti for the position of Principal Cellist in the Cherubini Orchestra, where he collaborated for with Maestro Muti for three years - performing in several tours throughout Europe and performing as soloist under Muti in some of the most prestigious halls in Europe including the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna.
In 2010 he won the audition for Principal Cello of the Zurich Opera Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Daniele Gatti and maintained this role until 2016. From 2016 to 2019 he was invited to play with several prestigious orchestras including the Teatro alla Scala, Teatro di San Carlo and the Luzern Sinfonieorchester. In 2019 he won the audition at the Arena Foundation in Verona where he held the
solo chair position until 2022. Massimiliano completed his studies first in Italy at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome in the class of Francesco Strano and then later in Switzerland, at the Musik- Akademie in Basel under the guidance of Ivan Monighetti, where he studied the Russian school of Rostropovich. He is a prize winner in 33 national and international competitions: in 2004 he won the First Prize in the seventh edition of the "Internationaler Wettbewerb für Violoncello" in Liezen (Austria), in 2006 he won the First Prize at the European Cello Competition "Arturo Bonucci" and he also won the Fifth Prize at the International Cello Competition "Gyeongnam International Music Competition Isang Yun in Memoriam" in South Korea. He lives in Switzerland with his wife and young daughter and plays a cello made in London in 1780 by Joseph Hill.