Giovanni Sollima

Anner Bijlsma Award 2018

On the evening of Friday, October 19th, the Italian cellist and composer Giovanni Sollima (Palermo, 1962), received the Anner Bijlsma Award after masterly performing his own concerto for two cellos and orchestra, together with cellist Anastasia Kobekina and the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra.

Job Cohen, president of the Anner Bijlsma Award Foundation: ‘The Anner Bijlsma Award is awarded every few years, when a unique candidate presents themselves. And he has done so now. Or rather, he has done so for a long time, and it is time for us to honor him with this award.’

The Italian cellist Giovanni Sollima is a researcher, musician, and composer. He is regarded as a cellist of exceptional quality. His infinite technical prowess, musical freedom, and originality, coupled with some serious energy, make each of his performances a unique event. As a composer, Sollima’s signature is unmistakable. His curiosity and interest in other cultures and styles have resulted in undeniable masterpieces. As a researcher, he presented the works of the Italian composer and cellist Giovanni Costanzi (1704-1778) to a wider audience. 

Maarten Mostert, artistic director of the Cello Biennale Amsterdam: ‘Giovanni Sollima is a free spirit, an artist in hart and soul. The man is a genius, an incredible cellist who composes, plays with Yo-Yo Ma, does crazy stuff like playing on a cello made of ice, turns cities on their head with his 100Cellos project, inspires young talent, and, to top it off, an endearing human too.’

Role model
Sollima is a role model to many young cellists. There’s more to the life of a cellist than a courageous Dvorak concerto, or a sensitive Schumann. Their example is Giovanni Sollima, who excels in many styles, from early music to pop. 

Sollima wants to use the award’s financial component to inspire and stimulate the young generation of cellists. He wants them to experience how improvising, composing, and organizing can turn people into better musicians. He will select a number of talented young cellists for a joint development trajectory in which they will learn to create their own music. That new music will be recorded in a series of albums.