26-year-old Italian born pianist Rodolfo Leone is the First Prize Winner of the 15th International Beethoven Piano Competition Vienna (2017). Described as “a true sound philosopher” (Oberösterreichische Nachrichten), Mr. Leone released his debut album on the Austrian label Gramola in May 2018. The all-Beethoven disc features two pillars of the piano repertoire: the Hammerklavier Sonata and the Waldstein Sonata. His playing has been described as having “impeccable style” and “absolute technical control” with “hands that every pianist would like to have” (Il Nuovo Amico).
Mr. Leone’s 2018-19 season begins with recital and concerto performances at Festival Napa Valley, followed by debuts with the San Diego Symphony (Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1) and with the Pasadena Symphony (Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21). In May 2019 he gives a recital tour in Austria, culminating in a performance in Vienna at the Brahms Saal of the Musikverein. He also performs recitals in Los Angeles and Naples (Florida), and appears on the chamber music series Le Salon de Musiques in Los Angeles.
A native of Turin, Italy, Mr. Leone made his orchestral debut in 2013 performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento (Italy). The following year he returned there to perform Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on tour with conductor Francesco Angelico. Mr. Leone then made his North American debut in 2014 performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Toronto Concert Orchestra. He has also performed the Liszt concerto at Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Colburn Orchestra and conductor Stéphane Denève.
Mr. Leone has performed extensively throughout Europe, North America and China. These performances include debuts in venues such as the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria; Steinway Hall in London, U.K.; the Music Hall of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China; Politeama Theatre in Palermo, Italy; the Mozart Concert Hall of Accademia Filarmonica in Bologna, Italy; the BASF Gesellschaftshaus in Ludwigshafen, Germany; and the Koerner Hall in Toronto, Canada. His performances have been broadcast live from Vienna, Austria, on Radio Ö1, Berlin, Germany, on Deutschlandradio Kultur and from Bolzano, Italy, on Radio Rai and RaiTRE TV. Mr. Leone is also a frequent chamber music and recital partner of cellist Lynn Harrell, a fellow Los Angeles resident.
A top-prize winner of several major piano competitions, Mr. Leone was awarded second prize at the 2014 Toronto International Piano Competition and second prize at the 2013 Busoni International Piano Competition (first prize was not awarded). Pianist magazine described his concerto performance during the 15th International Beethoven Piano Competition as a “communion with the orchestra” that “was raptly convincing… robust and joyful.”
Rodolfo Leone holds a Masters of Music degree from the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, where he continues to study with Fabio Bidini as an Artist Diploma candidate. He previously studied at the Hans Eisler School of Music in Berlin, Germany and at the G. Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro, Italy.