OUR ARTISTS

CARLO AONZO
A native of Savona, Italy, Carlo has an extensive background in Italian classical music. He graduated with honors from the Conservatory of Padova, founded the Ligurian Orchestra and Quartet for plectrum instruments and played mandolin at MilanĚs famed La Scala Orchestra. Carlo's research into mandolin history has taken him throughout museums and archives of Italy, the U.S. and northern Europe. Carlo is the artistic director of the most important mandolin festival in Italy and has won awards at major competitions like the Vivaldi prize in Venice, Italy and the Walnut Valley Folk Festival in Winfield, Kansas.

Along with Beppe Gambetta, Carlo has conducted extensive interviews as part of his comprehensive study of the musical forms present in Italy at the start of the twentieth century. These diverse forms ‚ serenades, mazurkas, boleros, czardas and others ‚ were vanishing into the past along with the string masters like Raffaele Calace, Giovanni Gioviale and harp-guitarist Pasquale Taraffo who had created them. While discovering these lost compositions and re-creating the original instrumentation, Carlo and Beppe began performing these wonderful tunes. This collaboration resulted in a CD entitled (Serenata) which was released in Europe in 1997.

To truly portray the sound of these century-old songs, Carlo plays a traditional "bowl-back" mandolin, the original style of construction developed in Italy. His instrument is a contemporary model built for him by his friend Gabriele Pandini. Carlo also wrote ‚ very quickly ‚ the exquisite two‚part mandolin arrangements heard on many of these pieces, capturing the authentic Neapolitan feeling with originality.