Luigi Gaggero has been performing as cimbalom and percussion player and as a conductor at important concert halls and festivals all over Europe, USA, and China (Philharmonics in Berlin, Paris and Kiev, Milano Musica, Carnegie Hall, Salzburger Festspiele, BBC Proms in London, Biennali in Salzburg and Venezia, Klangspuren, DeSingel … ).
With an endless passion for Medieval painting; Dante and Cavalcanti; the cinema of Tarkovsky and Tarr; Bach, Mozart and Kurtág; Heidegger and Nietzsche – Luigi is very sensitive to artists who express the transcendental in art and therefore prioritizes, as an interpreter, a phenomenological approach to both classical and contemporary music. His interpretations are based on the empathic encounter between interpreter, composer and audience. This results in moving, colorful interpretations, where the classical repertoire gets colored with the typical freedom of interpretation of contemporary music, which, in turn, despite its complexity, abandons itself to the sweep of ‘classical’ phrasing.
This is also the spirit in which Luigi conducts the Ukho Ensemble Kyiv (which he co-founded as artistic and musical director in 2015), and leads the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra (of which he is chief conductor since 2018). Luigi is also guest conductor of several European Orchestras and Ensembles and, at the head of his Ukho Ensemble, has recently conducted three sold-out opera productions at the National Opera of Ukraine.
For 20 years Luigi has dedicated himself to the development of new playing techniques on the cimbalom, revolutionizing the approach to the instrument. He has premiered more than 40 compositions, including solo pieces, concertos and chamber works, written for him by many of the most important composers of our time, thereby contributing to an essential widening of the cimbalom literature.
In 2012 he founded the vocal ensemble La Dolce Maniera with whom he recorded 2 discs dedicated to Monteverdi and Gesualdo. Vittorio Ghielmi wrote: “these fresh interpretations, far away from any ‘museality’, remind closely of Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro and the Baroque sculpture, letting this music powerfully come to life again before our eyes”.
He performs regularly with the finest European ensembles and orchestras (Berliner Philharmoniker, Münchner Philharmoniker, Münchner Kammerorchester, Filarmonica della Scala, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland, Philharmonia Orchestra London, Orchestre du Théâtre de La Monnaie in Bruxelles, Orchestre de Radio France; ensembles InterContemporain, Scharoun, Spectra, Notabu, musikfrabrik, Modern, œnm Salzburg, Contrechamps and Remix) under the direction of Abbado, Barenboim, Boulez, Harnoncourt, Holliger, Muti, Nagano, Ono, Pappano, Poppen and Rattle. Luigi has also collaborated with performers such as Juliane Banse, Muriel Cantoreggi, Mario Caroli, Marino Formenti, David Grimal, Niek de Groot, Barbara Hannigan, Maria Husmann, András Keller and Geneviève Strosser.
As a conductor, Luigi Gaggero has recorded monographic CDs devoted to Gervasoni (Winter & Winter), Hosokawa and Andreyev (Kairos), Solbiati (EMA Vinci Records), Monteverdi and Gesualdo (Stradivarius). As a cimbalom player he recorded works by Kurtág, Eötvös, Fedele, Francesconi, Gervasoni, Hosokawa, Kurtág, Lévinas and Solbiati (Audite, Aeon, Neos), as well as the Háry János Suite by Kodály on blu-ray with the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
Luigi Gaggero has studied percussions and conducting with Andrea Pestalozza -who brought him to the enthusiastic discover of the music of the 20th Century-, cimbalom with Márta Fábián and, studying with Edgar Guggeis and Rainer Seegers, was the first percussionist to receive the soloist-diploma with honors at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin.
Luigi Gaggero is professor of cimbalom at the Conservatoire and at the Académie supérieure de musique in Strasbourg, where he also founded the Contemporary music ensemble of the Académie.