'A sparkling performance!' (Valentina Lo Surdo - Radio Rai 3 - 2008) "Ravel 2 is a fascinating album". (Nicoletta Sguben - Amadeus - 2008) "A brilliant and imaginative interpretation combined with the bright sound of the Fazioli pianos". (Luca Segalla - Musica - June 2008) "The young pairing Giorgia Tomassi and Alessandro Stella bristle with the requisite energy". (International Piano - June 2008) DIGIPACK CD Biography Ravel was born in Ciboure, part of the French Basque region. His mother was Basque, while his father, was a Swiss inventor. At age seven, Ravel began piano lessons and, five or six years later, began composing. His parents encouraged his musical pursuits and sent him to the Conservatoire de Paris and studied music under Gabriel Fauré for a remarkable fourteen years. While many critics claim Ravel was influenced by composer Claude Debussy, Ravel himself claimed he was much more influenced by Mozart and Couperin. He was also highly influenced by music from around the world, including jazz and folk songs. He worked with ballet choreographer Diaghilev who staged Ma mère l'Oye and Daphnis et Chloé. The latter was commissioned by Diaghilev with the lead danced by the great Nijinsky. Stravinsky once described Ravel as 'the Swiss watchmaker' of music, because of Ravel's painstaking attention to detail. In 1920, the French government awarded him with the Légion d'honneur, but Ravel refused. In 1928, Ravel for the first time began a piano tour in America. His numerous concerts and piano recitals received an enthusiastic reception, and he was introduced to celebrities from the worlds of art. He also met George Gershwin and the two became friends. Ravel's admiration of American jazz led him to include some jazz elements in a few of his later compositions, especially the two piano concertos. His few students included Maurice Delage, Manuel Rosenthal and Ralph Vaughan Williams. GIORGIA TOMASSI Born in Naples, she received first piano lessons from her mother. This was to be the start of a long-lasting, deep involvement with music that would lead to her maturation as an artist at the Piano Academy of Imola under the guidance of the Maestro Franco Scala. Giorgia Tomassi's interpretation of Chopin's Studies, released on CD by EMI in 1997, was welcomed with entusiastic acclaims. In 1999 she recorded, again for EMI, the Concertos for piano and orchestra by Nino Rota with the Scala Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by the esteemed Maestro Riccardo Muti. She has played at some of the most important European venues: the Scala in Milan, Wigmore Hall in London, the Herculessaal in Munich, in Japan, in the United States and South Korea. Her repertoire ranges from Bach to the romantics and the music of the 20th century. On June 2003 she has played at "Martha Argerich's Festival" in Lugano (Switzerland) also with Martha Argerich (Lutoslawski "Paganini's Variations" for two pianos). She regulary plays with the famous Italian violinist Salvatore Accardo, Domenico Nordio, the Ensemble Wien-Berlin, Hansjoerg Schellenberger, Milan Turkovic, Danilo Rossi, Alessandro Travaglini. ALESSANDRO STELLA The Italian pianist Alessandro Stella was born in Roma and studied under the M° R. Esposito at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. Later becoming a student of F. Scala and M. Di Bari at the Accademy of Music in Cremona, where he received his diploma with distinction. He followed several seminars with the best pianists of our times: Pollini, Thibaudet, Zacharias, Weissenberg, Canino. His repertoire ranges from Bach to the romantics and the music of the 20th century. Alessandro Stella has given concerts and masterclass around Europe and regulary plays with Emilia Baranowska, Mauro Conti, Giovanni Gnocchi, Géza Hosszu-Legocky, Marie-Hélène Le Dall, Raffaele Mallozzi.