Roberto Plano. First Prize Winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition, Finalist at the Twelfth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2005, Prizewinner of the Honens International Piano Competition (Calgary, Canada) and the Axa Dublin International Piano Competition, the Geza Anda (Switzerland), Iturbi (Spain) and Sendai (Japan) Competitions (after having won First Prizes in several national competitions in Italy), Italian pianist Roberto Plano has performed all over the world. Plano also was named the “Best Ensemble Performer” at the 2003 Honens Competition for his performances with cellist Shauna Rolston and soprano Ingrid Attrot; and he was the winner of the “Best Recital” and “Best Performance of a Commissioned Work” prizes at the Dublin International Piano Competition.
He has played in important venues in North America including Alice Tully Hall in New York City’s Lincoln Center, where he performed the American premiere of Luis de Pablo’s Retratos y Transcripciones; Severance Hall in Cleveland, Bass Hall in Fort Worth, National Arts Centre in Ottawa and others. He regularly performs in Europe – notably at Parco della Musica in Rome, Sala Verdi and Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, Teatro Manzoni in Bologna, Teatro Politeama in Palermo, Fazioli Concert Hall (Italy); Auditorium della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano (Switzerland); Salle Cortot in Paris; Wigmore Hall and St. John Smith Square in London; National Concert Hall in Dublin; and at the Herculessaal and Gasteig in Munich. He has been a featured recitalist at internationally acclaimed festivals such as the Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Festival in Brescia and the Bologna Festival (Italy), the Chopin Festival in Duszniki (Poland), the Gijon International Piano Festival (Spain), Les fêtes musicales de Biarritz (France), as well as the Ravinia Festival, the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, the Portland Piano International Festival, the Newport Music Festival, the Savannah Music Festival and the Wassermann Piano Festival in the United States.
Mr. Plano has appeared with orchestras in Italy (Milan Symphony Orchestra “Verdi” and Rome Symphony), Germany (Rheinland-Pfalz), Spain (Valencia Symphony), Czech Republic (Marienbad Symphony), Slovakia (Kosice State Symphony), Romania (Oradea, Sibiu, Targu Mures Symphonies), Switzerland (Festival Strings, Lucerne), the UK (Young Symphony Orchestra), Japan (Sendai Symphony), and the USA (Houston, Fort Worth, Spokane, Akron, Illinois Symphony and others), under conductors such as James Conlon, Pichas Zukerman, Jahja Ling, Marcelo Lehninger, Robert Franz, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Enrique Garcia Assensio, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Donato Renzetti, Ari Raisilianen, Kerry Stratton and Gary Sheldon. In Canada, he has been soloist with Calgary Philharmonic under the direction of Sir Neville Marriner.
Roberto Plano’s friendly and outgoing personality has made him a favorite for guest appearances on a number of radio stations, including NPR’s Performance Today, WNYC in New York City, WFMT in Chicago, WGBH’s Classics in the Morning (Boston), WCRI (Newport), CBC’s In Performance (Toronto), BBC In Tune (London), Radio RAI 3 Grammelot and Piazza Verdi (Italy). As a result of his success at the 2005 Van Cliburn Competition, he appeared in the film documentaries In the Heart of Music and Encores (together with James Conlon and Menahem Pressler) which was aired on PBS stations across the United States, as well as in Europe through the satellite channel MEZZO. In 2006, Plano was chosen to participate in the DVD recording “A Masterclass with Jean-Michel Damase,” filmed in Paris by ARTE at Salle Cortot; and together with Philippe Entremont, a second video project about the music of Mozart, broadcast by NHK in Japan.
As a teacher, he has given public master classes in prestigious universities such as Indiana University, University of Houston, Kent State University, Augusta State University, University of Mississippi, Utah State University, University of Dayton, the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), Boston Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Alberta Conservatory (Edmonton), the Conservatory of San Juan (Puerto Rico), the Santa Cecilia Conservatory (Rome), as well as in Paris at the Ecole Normale Cortot, in Taiwan and in all the major cities of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. During the summer he often presides at the Music International Masterclasses in Portogruaro and at the International Masterclasses Project in Campli, Italy.
In previous seasons, Mr. Plano toured Italy playing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, toured Canada and the U.S. (Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Cincinnati, Fort Worth, Austin, Los Alamos, Denver, and New York’s Steinway Hall), played with the Vienna Concert-Verein Orchestra at the Weston Recital Hall in Toronto, and made his debut with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa conducted by Pinchas Zukerman. Highlights of recent previous seasons include Mr. Plano’s debut with the strings of the Berliner Philarmoniker in Italy, his debut recital at London’s Wigmore Hall, his debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and concerts with the Milan, Fort Worth, Calgary, Bakersfield, Glens Falls, Reading, and Austin (Minnesota) Symphony Orchestras, plus new collaborations with groups such as the St. Petersburg String Quartet. North American recital engagements followed in Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas, Minnesota, Arizona, New York, Illinois, and British Columbia.
In 2011, he performed at SUNY New Paltz’s McKenna Theatre (New York) at the invitation of Vladimir Feltsman’s PianoSummer Festival. In the summer of 2012 he made his recital debut at the prestigious Newport (Rhode Island) Music Festival, invited to return in 2015. The 2012-13 season saw him as soloist with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra (New York) – which invited him back in 2015 – plus return engagements with the Bakersfield Symphony (California), and the Boise Philharmonic (Idaho). He was also guest artist for the 2013 Young Artist World Piano Festival at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was invited to return in 2014. The 2014-15 season also included performances as guest soloist with the New Bedford Symphony (Massachusetts), Glacier Symphony & Chorale in Montana, North Mississippi Symphony, the Arkansas Philharmonic, Newport Music Festival, and the University of Houston International Piano Festival in Texas.
As a chamber musician he played with groups such as the Takacs, Cremona, Fine Arts, and St. Petersburg String Quartets, as well as with soloists such as Ilya Grubert (violin), Enrico Bronzi and Giovanni Scaglione (cello) and Gabriele Cassone (trumpet). He has a piano duo with his wife Paola Del Negro and a crossover piano duo project with jazz pianist Paolo Paliaga, with whom he recorded the CD Inspiration. He also worked with famous Italian actress Lella Costa, performing Liszt’s Melologues. Roberto has been invited as a juror in national and international competitions, including the Cleveland International Piano Competition and the Singapore National Piano and Violin Competition.
Mr. Plano’s debut recording of sonatas and rondos by Andrea Luchesi (1741-1801) on the Concerto Classics label in 2012 received five stars out of five from MUSICA magazine; in February 2013, he performed the world premiere of the composer’s two piano concertos with the Busoni Chamber Orchestra in Trieste, Italy, Massimo Belli conducting. The performance included a never-before-heard cadenza written for the concerto by Mozart. Amadeus, the most widely read music magazine in Italy, featured these events with Roberto’s photograph on the magazine’s cover. The Toledo Symphony (Ohio), conducted by Stefan Sanderling, gave the Luchesi concertos their North American premiere with Mr. Plano in March of 2015. In addition to two CDs with music by Andrea Luchesi published by the Concerto Classics label, he recorded also for Amadeus, Brilliant, Azica, Arktos, Sipario, and Tau Records. He appeared once more on the Amadeus cover in February, 2015, with a CD of music by Alexander Scriabin. In March of 2016, Mr. Plano’s debut recording for DECCA Classics was released, featuring the Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses by Liszt, which have not been recorded by Decca since the 1960s.
In 2011, he created in Italy the Music Association “Alfred Cortot,” which he chairs, and the Academia Musicale Varesina, with the purpose of spreading the joy of classical music in all its aspects and giving priority to the musical education of young people. Recent events include soloist performances with the Royal Camerata at the Athenaeum Theater in Bucharest (Romania), with the Boston Civic Symphony, and recitals and chamber music concerts at the Stellenbosh Symposium, South Africa; at the Yamaha Center (Taiwan); at the Vivace Vilnius Festival in Lithuania; at the Gijon International Piano Festival in Spain; and at the Boston Athenaeum in the United States.
His hometown in Italy, Varese, awarded him several Prizes, including the Lumen Claro, given in the past to influential people like Ottavio Missoni and Mario Monti. In 2016 he was elected Honorary Member by the Lions Club Varese Prealpi.
A recital at the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center in St. Paul, Minnesota for the Frederic Chopin Society was marked by St. Paul Pioneer Press critic Ron Hubbard describing his performance among the top ten events of the year. Mr. Plano has been described by The Chronicle in Glens Falls, New York as the “Pavarotti of the Piano” for his lyricism, and also defined by Chicago radio commentator Paul Harvey, Jr. as the heir to Rubinstein and Horowitz. New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini has written: “This Italian pianist showed artistic maturity beyond his years… there was a wonderful clarity and control of inner voices in his performances…”
In September, 2016, Mr. Plano joined the faculty at Boston University.