In honouring Bruno Giuranna today we are honouring one of the great performers of Western classical tradition, a world leader in viola performance, an inspirational teacher, and one of the great gentlemen of the art of music.
Before his fame spread as a soloist, and later as a conductor Bruno Giuranna was best known as a chamber music player, playing in the Quartetto di Roma, and in the Italian String Trio with whom he recorded the complete string trios of Beethoven for Deutsche Grammophon in the 1960s. Twenty years on, he worked on the same repertoire for Deutsche Grammophon in the company of Anne-Sophie Mutter and Mstislav Rostropovich.
Born in Milan, he completed his musical studies at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome, where he received his diploma in violin and viola. He was one of the founding members of the famed chamber group I Musici, and as soloist on both the viola and viola d'amore, took part in numerous highly acclaimed tours of Europe, Asia, North and Central America.
Bruno Giuranna began his solo career in 1954 when he performed the world premiere of Giorgio Federico Ghedini's Concerto for Viola and Orchestra with Herbert von Karajan conducting. Ghedini wrote it for me, he said in a recent interview, showing me some parts while he was writing, asking me to play them to see how they would sound. He has since performed regularly with leading orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and La Scala in Milan under conductors including Claudio Abbado, Carlo Maria Giulini, Sir John Barbirolli, Riccardo Muti and Sergiu Celibidache. Professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin and International Chair at the Royal Academy of Music in London 1995-96, Mr. Giuranna is now Visiting Professor of viola at the Irish World Music Centre, University of Limerick. He has given master classes throughout the world and was a frequent guest at the Marlboro Festival in Vermont. From 1983 to 1992 Bruno Giuranna was Artistic Director of the Padova Chamber Orchestra and of the International Chamber Music Festival in Asolo, ltaly, where he now lives. He was president of the Jury of the Bruno Giuranna International Viola Competition in Brazil.
His extensive discography includes Mozart's Sinfonia Còncertante with Henryk Szerying, the complete Vivaldi Concerti for viola d'amore and the Mozart Piano Quartets with the Beaux Arts Trio for Philips Records.
In 1990 Mr. Giuranna's recording of the Beethoven String Trios with Anne-Sophie Mutter and Mstislaw Rostropovich for Deutsche Grammophon was nominated for a Grammy Award and his recording of the Boccherini Concerti won the coveted Grand Prix du Disque from the prestigious Academie Charles Cros of Paris. Bruno Giuranna has been the artistic director of the Orchestra da Camera di Padova from 1983 to 1992 and in 1998 he started an intensive cooperation with the Orchestra dei Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan.
Bruno Giuranna was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Irish Chamber Orchestra in 1997 soon after their move to the Irish World Music Centre at the University of Limerick. Bruno Giuranna was also one of the key figures with Dr Hugh Maguire, Mr John Kelly, and Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin of the MA in Classical String Performance at the Irish World Music Centre. He was also the first Professor of Viola on the Masters programme, bringing the inspiration and generosity which are hallmarks of his musicianship and personality to bear on the lives of the international students whom he attracted to study with him in Limerick.
Bruno Giuranna stands in the front line in the history of his chosen instrument. The sound of his viola playing shines like a beacon of light throughout a lifetime of performance. The music he makes is both full of heart and is inspired with a deep musical intelligence. Moving with clarity and ease through the dramatic to the lyrical to the most romantic of interpretations, he has brought emotional riches to his audiences across the world. He has served the great masters of his tradition through his noble bearing and musical enlightenment. In sharing his mastery and genius with the Irish World Music Centre, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and with the University of Limerick campus, Bruno Giuranna has kindled a light in Ireland which his inspired students will carry forward to the new generations of music lovers to come.