Francesco Parrino began his musical activities at an early age – when the great guitarist Alirio Diaz recognised him as a “brilliant promise of the Italian art of violin playing” and encouraged him to pursue a musical career. Since then, he has enjoyed wide consensus from audiences and critics alike for his musicianship, a blend of passionate expressivity and absolute respect for the score that led Mario Messinis, a doyen of Italian music critics, to talk about “the faithful performances of the intense violinist Francesco Parrino”, and Alberto Cantù, the most influential Italian historian of violin playing, not only to underline how “the terse sound and the airy or diamond-like virtuoso passagework of Francesco’s violin … are a marvel”, but also to define his interpretive approach as “exemplary for the manner in which the musical complexities are poetically resolved with ease”.
Francesco obtained the Diploma in violin at the Milan “Giuseppe Verdi” Conservatoire, the Docerend Musicus degree of the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Utrecht, the Master of Music of the Royal Academy of Music, London, and a PhD at the Royal Holloway College, University of London.
The pedagogues who exerted the greatest influence on his musical and technical personality were David Takeno and Yfrah Neaman who wrote: “I was immediately struck by his intelligence, musical maturity, deep insight into music and high quality of interpretation. He has a thorough knowledge of the principals of violin playing and is able to communicate to his listeners the character and specific style of the music. I find Francesco one of the most interesting and stimulating students I have had, and have great admiration for his qualities”.
Both as a soloist and chamber musician, he has performed in important theatres and concert halls in Austria, Chile, Colombia, England, France, Italy, Peru, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey.
His many awards include First Prize in the Concorso Internazionale “Città di Stresa” (1993) and the Concorso Internazionale “Città di Modica” (1993), the Gold Medal in the Concorso “Carlo Vidusso” (1988), as well as the Joseph Bloch Prize (RAM, 1998) and the Connell Grabowsky Scholarship (RAM, 1997).
Francesco is a founding member and the violinist of the Trio Albatros Ensemble – a chamber group that has recorded for the Stradivarius label, the most important Italian classical label, broadcast on RAI, Channel Five of the Russian TV, Radio della Svizzera Italiana, Vatican Radio and many other radio and television companies, and for whom many works have been written by such distinguished composers as Alessandro Annunziata, Bruno Bettinelli, Luciano Chailly, Gloria Coates, Giorgio Gaslini, Luca Mosca, Flavio Emilio Scogna, Alessandro Solbiati and Giorgio Colombo Taccani.
As a soloist, he collaborated with the orchestras of Aarad, Catanzaro, Kosice, the Turin Philharmonic, the Armonici and Stesichoros chamber orchestras. He premiered violin works by Marco Betta, Paolo Furlani and Ennio Morricone.
Francesco is also interested in musicological research. His main areas of research are nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian music, and the aesthetics and ideologies of musical performance. He has contributed papers (appreciated by eminent scholars such as Amanda Glauert, Erik Levi, Roger Parker e Richard Taruskin) to seminars and international conferences held by the Universities of Cambridge, London, Oxford and York as well as by the American Musicological Society, and has written articles for American, Austrian and Italian periodicals. His involvement in the rediscovery and revaluation of various twentieth-century composers such as Bruno Bettinelli, Giorgio Federico Ghedini, Gian Francesco Malipiero, Bohuslav Martinů and Nino Rota is acknowledged by the critics who emphasise how Francesco gives “a very significant contribution to a musicological area that urgently needs to be revaluated: the most recent past” (Stefano Lamon).
Future engagements include recitals and chamber music concerts in Italy, Finland, Switzerland and Britain as well as a series of recordings of nineteenth and twentieth-century violin and chamber works.
He plays on two beautiful violins: a Gaetano Gadda (circa 1950), and a Giuseppe & Antonio Gagliano (circa 1790-1805) that he has been generously lent by the heirs of the great conductor Gino Marinuzzi. He owns two precious bows: a 2008 Benoit Rolland and a 1930 Eugène Sartory he was given by an anonymous admirer.
Francesco is also a busy violin teacher who receives plaudits for his activity.