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Genesio Riboldi

One of Puerto Rico’s outstanding musical personalities, conductor and soloist Genesio Riboldi, started both careers at an early age. The son of distinguished Milanese baritone, Genesio Riboldi, Sr., he won first place at the the Sears Foundation and Jonathan Memorial competitions for young soloists at age 13. At 15 he became principal clarinetist of the World Youth and American Symphony Orchestras, performing with them latter at Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. His orchestral virtuosity was highlighted by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. He studied with Leslie López, Earl Thomas, Sidney Forest, David Glazer and later with composer-conductor, pianist and principal clarinet of the Vienna Philharmonic, Alfred Prinz. By age 17, he was named principal clarinetist with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, thus becoming the youngest principal player and soloist in the history of the orchestra. He was featured soloist and member of the Casals Festival Orchestra through auditions for Jean Pierre Rampal and Maurice André. Later he became the Festival’s principal clarinetist, being the only native musician to hold principal chairs in both orchestras. The legendary Puerto Rican pianist Jesús María Sanromá (R.C.A. and Columbia recording artist with the Boston and Pittsburgh orchestras under Munch, Leinsdorf and Steinberg) wrote: “Conductor and soloist Genesio Riboldi is, in my opinion, our best product; our man of the present and the future, not only for his technique, but for his interpretation, ability, style, personality and natural musical intuition.”

He began conducting in Switzerland under the tutelage of Maestro Rudolf Kempe. Furthered studies in symphonic and operatic conducting, composition and piano with professors Edoardo Müller, Mario Gusella (of the Scherchen School), and Renate Felt at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan. At 21, after receiving commendable reviews in Europe, Riboldi was engaged to conduct the Puerto Rico Symphony, being the youngest and first native conductor to perform with the orchestra. He was invited by Herbert Von Karajan to attend what were to be the maestro’s last rehearsals and recording sessions. This rare privilege allowed him a close appreciation of the late conductor’s work. Mr. Riboldi has been a faculty member at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music in clarinet, chamber music and interpretation of German and Italian Lied for singers and pianists. Maestro Riboldi’s symphonic repertoire ranges from the traditional symphonies of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schuman and others to music by Wagner, Mahler and Strauss as well as contemporary pieces by Berg, Stravinsky, Schönberg, Sierra and Adams.

Maestro Riboldi continues as guest conductor with orchestras such as the Angelicum in Milan, I Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano,Redona Philharmonic, Ars Wien and I.H.E.M. Orchestra of Montreaux. He has also conducted at the Florida Festival Orchestra Conductors Symposium and the Ensemble di Milano; as well as performing as soloist and music director with the Camerata Orchestra of PuertoRico at the Casals Festival, Ponce Museum of Art, Merkin Hall, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Snug Harbour Cultural Center in New York. Mr. Riboldi, who plays a Viennese Öhler clarinet, has recorded for the Austrian Broadcasting Company (O.R.F.) and the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. His recording of Roberto Sierra’s opera The Silver Messenger for Newport Classic has been praised by American Record Guide as an outstanding performance. He has won the Artists’ International Special Presentation Award in New York. With San Juan’s Teatro de la Opera, he has conducted Mozart’s The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro.

Since 1996, Maestro Riboldi has performed as guest conductor of the Orchestra of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, where his yearly concerts at the Hermitage Theater are received with great enthusiasm by the St. Petersburg audience and critics. He became the first Puerto Rican conductor in the history of San Juan’s prestigious Casals Festival when he and the Orchestra of the Hermitage opened the Festival’s 1998 season. The Orchestra has appointed Maestro Riboldi as its representative and guest conductor for all their presentations in North and South America.

He energizes the orchestra, with exceptional character and musical nature, particularly in the most dramatic moments’’. (Il Giornale, Milan) “His interpretive concepts are very convincing... One can easily distinguish the work of the orchestra from the conductor’s signature which intensifies the artistic quality of the performance.” (Nikolaus Harnoncourt). “Of great artistic maturity, his interpretation is that of a noble Mozartean stylist with a great sense for the internal structures; his tempi are fast but never technically affected.” (Peter Cossé, Salzburger Nachrrichten). “His conducting is dramatic, musical and emotionally compelling; these are rare qualities. Bravo! A wonderful musical gift!” (John Duffy, composer and director, Meet the Composer Inc., New York). “Schumann’s Spring Symphony brought Riboldi’s performance to a splendid finale... the orchestra responded to his intention achieving moments of great poetry and musicianship... the best of the evening... a fitting tribute to youth, Schumann and beauty.” (R. Aponte Ledée, El Mundo). “Conductor Genesio Riboldi balances and focuses his lively ensemble with dexterity...” (David J. Baker, Opera News on Line - The Silver Messenger) “Possesses the best tone I have ever heard; an extremely brilliant clarinetist and a first class musician.” (Michelle Zukovsky, principal clarinet, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra). “His performance of the Carl Nielsen proved the highlight of the evening. Riboldi played with a striking dynamic range, from the calmest whisper to commanding declamation that subdues the accompanying orchestra. ...a fluent technique, utterly adept at the instrument’s technical challenges creating a highly personal sound. He gave us two formidable cadenzas in the Nielsen, without a hint of unease. Without a doubt Riboldi is one of the nest soloists we have heard this year.” (Mark Staebler, The San Juan Star). “In passages calling for high energy, Riboldi consistently generated it, with sparks and benevolent flames aglow, yet when the music demanded calm and sweetness, the maestro provided these qualities with tenderness and kind refinement ...the concert’s crowning point was Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony in a truly memorable version, crystalline, sparkling and virtuose with a devilishly fast yet precise nale.” (Eduardo Kusnir, El Nuevo Día) “Expressive phrasing, dramatic use of silences and a delicate balance of orchestral forces –something difficult to achieve and highly appreciated in these latitudes– gave shape to a musical discourse of rare beauty and clarity, only attained by the best talents in the competitive art of symphonic conducting”.(Luis Enrique Juliá, El Nuevo Día). “Maestro Riboldi simply made MUSIC, with capital letters. His demeanor and expressive power were those of a mature musician, with great knowledge of the presented repertoire, of which he conducted practically all from memory. The audience responded with great joy and satisfaction, over owing with applause after each movement” (Raymond Torres-Santos. El Vocero).