Soloist, chamber musician, principal cellist, educator and innovator: Umberto Clerici's multifaceted artistic and creative activity can be distilled in these five cultural paradigms.
Born in Turin, Italy, Umberto Clerici started studying the cello with the Suzuki method at the age of five and he continued at the Conservatoire of Music in Turin. Later mastering his art with Mario Brunello and David Geringas, both of whom opened new musical dimensions for him.
At the age of 19 he won the ICO (Istituzioni Concertistico Orchestrali) competition, which gave him the opportunity to take up a career as a soloist. He went on to win prizes at the Janigro Competition in Zagreb and, in 2011, at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow – only the second Italian cellist to have done so, after Mario Brunello.
Umberto Clerici has played as a soloist worldwide with orchestras including the St Petersburg Philharmonic, the Russian State Orchestra of Moscow, Philharmonia Wien, the Zagreb Philharmonic and the orchestras of Rome, Milan and Florence. He has performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls, such as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Great Shostakovich Hall in Saint Petersburg and the Parco della Musica Auditorium in Rome. In 2012 he played Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme with the Turin Teatro Regio Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev.
He joined the Turin Trio in 2001, performing with them for almost 15 years, as well as collaborating with Louis Lortie, Jeffrey Swann, Itamar Golan, Sergei Krylov, Claudio Martínez Mehner, Andrea Rebaudengo and Mario Brunello. At the age of 23 he began teaching at the Salzburg Mozarteum.
Umberto Clerici also decided to make a foray into the orchestra environment, to explore the orchestral repertoire and experience the interactions that take place in the wider music ensemble: he therefore started playing in the orchestra, as Principal Cellist with Lorin Maazel's Toscanini Philharmonic Orchestra and, for a number of productions, with the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2009 he was appointed Principal Cello at the Teatro Regio in Turin, a role he held until leaving Europe for Australia in 2014, to take up the positions of Principal Cellist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Lecturer in Cello at the University of Sydney. Since joining the Sydney Symphony, Umberto Clerici has dedicated time to an interdisciplinary project centred on Strauss' Don Quixote, which debuts in 2017.
Umberto Clerici has the privilege of playing a 1722 Matteo Goffriller cello from Venice (as heard on this recording), and also a 1758 Carlo Antonio Testore from Milan.