Simone Fontanelli





""I have known the composer Simone Fontanelli for many years and treasure his talent very highly. I feel his way of making music is very near to mine, and is closely related to my own approach to music." 

György Kurtág

Since winning the prestigious VI. Salzburg International Mozart Composition Competition in 1995, Simone Fontanelli has been considered as one of the most interesting and authentic contemporary musical personalities.

As composer and conductor, he has been invited to many international Festivals in Italy, Austria, England, Spain, Hungary, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Kazachistan, Israel, Taiwan and USA. He has always received the highest praise for his works: "I treasure his talent very highly…" (György Kurtág). “Fontanelli's music is poetically beautiful, touching” (Muzsika, Hungarian Music Magazine) and his interpretations as a conductor: “It is rare that one's music is prepared with such sensitivity and insight, combined with such superb technical skill” (George Crumb).

His compositions are performed worldwide by greatest artists. In 2011 his children opera "Es war ein einmal Stück Holz" (“Once Upon A Time There was A piece Of Wood”) after C. Collodi’s Pinocchio, commissioned and co-produced by the Cologne Gürzenich-Orchester and the Cologne Kinderoper, was a great success and all performances were sold out.  Since then, the opera has been staged several times in Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Austria, in the relative translations. A CD production of it has been released in UK in 2019.

In 2020 he has received a Commission from the Staatskapelle Dresden for a new work for ensemble for the Beethoven Celebration in October 2020.

Since January 2023, Mr Fontanelli will be the Director of the Institut für Neue Musik of the Salzburg Mozarteum University.

From 2003 to 2009 Mr. Fontanelli was the Director of the Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music (Brunswick, ME - USA) and a member of the distinguished faculty/artist roster of the prestigious Bowdoin Summer Music Festival in Brunswick, a position he has also held in 2008 at the Internationale Sommerakademie Mozarteum in Salzburg.

Mr. Fontanelli gives masterclasses and lectures in Music Analysis, Chamber Music, Conducting and Composition. He has been invited to give them at many important universities in Europe, Asia and America including the Juilliard School in New York, the Lamont School in Denver, the Yehudi Menuhin School, the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, the F. Liszt Academy in Budapest,  the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and many others. 

Since 2000 he has been on the faculty of the University of Mozarteum in Salzburg. He was both founder and conductor of the Amadeus Kammerorchester Salzburg, an acclaimed chamber orchestra devoted to the classical repertoire and whose members were some of the best Alumni of the Mozarteum.

Mr. Fontanelli was born in 1961 in Milan. He studied guitar with Notis Mavroudis and Giorgio Oltremari. He also studied Philosophy at the University of Milan. In 1989, he graduated in Composition from the Conservatorio of Milano, where he’d been a pupil of Davide Anzaghi and Umberto Rotondi. He won the first prize at the Ville de Bagneux International Competition (France 1988).

Mr. Fontanelli studied conducting in Hungary. He was the conductor of the Milano Ensemble (1985-1988), the Logos Ensemble (1985-1988) and the Nuovi Spazi Sonori Ensemble (1989-1991). He was awarded the “Diploma di Merito” in Instrumental Contemporary Music at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena in 1980 and 1981.