Francesca Torelli is considered among the best Italian lutenists in today’s Early music scene.
After earning a degree in lute with the highest marks at the Conservatory of Verona under the guidance of Orlando Cristoforetti, Francesca completed her studies with Nigel North at the Guildhall School of Music in London. At the same time, she studied Renaissance and Baroque singing with Auriol Kimber.
From the start, her concert activities have featured solo repertoire for lute and theorbo, as well as repertoire for voice and lute (singing while accompanying herself on the instrument). Since 2000 she’s also been the director of several Early music ensembles.
As a soloist, she has participated in numerous festivals in Europe, South America and Australia.
She has provided and played in theatre productions and has appeared as a lutenist on television programs on RAI 2, Channel 4, and many others.
Francesca has recorded for labels such as Tactus, Dynamic, Stradivarius, Mondo Musica and Nuova Era, with the ensembles Cappella Artemisia, Sans souci, Cappella Palatina, Accademia Farnese and the chamber orchestra Offerta Musicale of Venice. She has also recorded for the national Italian channels RAI 2, RAI Radiotre, WDR and other European networks.
She has also collaborated with the orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Vivaldi ensemble of Solisti Veneti, Il Ruggiero, Accademia degli Astrusi, Capella Regiensis.
Francesca has recorded two CDs (with Tactus) centered around music by Pietro Paolo Melli and Alessandro Piccinini (reprint Brilliant 2011) and the albums John Dowland: Lute songs, lute music (2010), Musique pour le Roy-Soleil: Robert de Visée works for theorbo (2013), Italian Baroque Music for Archlute (2017), Le Dialogue: Charles Mouton Lute suites (2021) for Magnatune. All these recordings received great reviews from the press.
Her CD Renaissance Fantasias, Da Vinci (2022) was awarded with 5 stars by Musica magazine.
She particularly enjoys performing voice and lute repertoire. Among the singers she has accompanied, she remembers fondly her collaborations with Marco Beasley, Sverrier Gudjonsson, Monica Piccinini and Lia Serafini.
In 2006 Francesca published the handbook A tutor for the Theorbo, with Ut Orpheus editions. It was the first method on this instrument to ever be published, and it’s used by musicians worldwide.
She is founder and director of the Scintille di musica ensemble, and recorded six CDs with them, for EMI and Lungomare, featuring the voice of songwriter Angelo Branduardi. These recordings focus on Sixteenth and Seventeenth century Italian music: Mantova, la musica alla corte dei Gonzaga; Venezia e il Carnevale; Musica della Serenissima; Roma e la festa di San Giovanni; Il Carnevale romano; Musica alla corte dei Principi-Vescovi.
Concerto Ensemble Scintille di Musica, Venezia
Ensemble Andromeda, Milano
She has taught lute at the Conservatories of Bari and Vicenza and has held seminars and master classes at numerous Universities and musical institutions, such as Escuela Universitaria de Musica de Montevideo (Uruguay), Basel Schola Cantorum (Switzerland), Shanghai Music Conservatory (China), Escuela Municipal de Musica de Rosario (Argentina), Perth and Darwin Universities (Australia).
Since 2001 she teaches lute at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, where she has also been head of the Early Music Institute.
Francesca has directed the Conservatory’s Andromeda early music ensemble, with which she has performed Baroque oratorios (Kapsberger, de Rossi, Carissimi), theatrical works (Purcell) and concerts.