Soloist, chamber musician, principal cellist, teacher, cultural innovator: Umberto Clerici's multifaceted artistic and creative activity can be summed up in these five dimensions.
Born in Turin, Italy, Umberto began studying cello at the age of five, continuing later at the Conservatoire of Music in Turin. Clerici mastered his art with Mario Brunello and David Géringas, both of whom opened to him new musical dimensions of fantasy and rigour.
At the age of 19 he won the Italian Regional Orchestras contest, and began his career as a soloist. Other international prizes followed: the Janigro Competition in Zagreb and the 2011 International Tchaikovsy Competition (the only Italian cellist in the history of that competition, other than Mario Brunello, to be a Prize winner).
Clerici has played as a soloist all over the world including, among many, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, the Moscow Russian State Orchestra, the Philharmonia Wien, the Zagreb Philharmonic, Rome, Milano and Florence Orchestras. He has performed in the prestigious concert halls of Carnegie Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Great Shostakovich Hall in Saint Petersburg and the Parco della Musica Auditorium in Rome. In 2012 he also played Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo theme with the Turin Teatro Regio Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev.
While his solo concerts increased in number, Clerici maintained his chamber music and teaching, finding that these gave him even greater satisfaction than pure performance. At the age of 23 he became assistant Professor at the Salzburg’s Mozarteum Summer Academy.
He joined the Trio di Torino in 2001, but also pursued separate projects with Luis Lortie, Jeffrey Swann, Itamar Golan, Sergej Krilov, Claudio Martinez Mehner, Andrea Rebaudengo and Mario Brunello.
Wishing also to explore the orchestral repertoire and experience a wider music ensemble, Clerici chose to embark on playing in the orchestra, as the principal cellist, with Lorin Maazel's Toscanini Philharmonic Orchestra. For four years Clerici was Principal cello with the Teatro Regio di Torino.
In 2014 Clerici was appointed principal cello of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and Cello Lecturer at the Sydney University. He made his debut as a soloist with SSO in 2017 with his interdisciplinary project centred on Strauss' Don Quixote and in 2018 he played the Brahms double concerto.
He recorded several CDs with concertos, solo and chamber music and, in 2017, he realised two new solo recordings for ABC Classic.
Umberto plays a 1722 Matteo Goffriller from Venice and a 1758 Carlo Antonio Testore from Milan.
Umberto Clerici’s ANAM residency is generously supported by Ralph Ward-Ambler AM and Barbara Ward-Ambler
Photo by Laura Stanca