| Italian Version | Full Biography |


I wanted to be a dancer but I would have never given up music: I have always been singing, since I was a young girl.

Whether I’m writing for my jazz bands, performing a Britten or a Monteverdi opera, singing in big halls or small clubs, giving life to new roles like Anaïs Nin or Sor Juana or everything else composer Louis Andriessen ever wrote for me, I always have a deep respect for the music.

In many years, I have learned to move among apparently contrasting musical worlds. When I’m asked how is it possible to go straight from jazz to opera, I reply that ‘Musically it’s never an issue. Small things, like rehearsal times or late night hours, can be!’

I adore repertoire from the 20th century, and I have been exploring it for years in duo with pianist Andrea Rebaudengo. Our duo also works with two trios, involving clarinet player Gabriele Mirabassi and violist Danusha Waskiewicz. Pieces like Berio’s Folk Songs, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire or Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine have become part of me, and when I get back to my jazz quartet Special Dish or when I work with Uri Caine or Paolo Fresu, it feels like coming home.

I consider myself a jazz singer because jazz was my first love: I learned from the voices of Sarah Vaughan, Joni Mitchell, Cassandra Wilson, and many more.

My life changed yet again when I discovered Cathy Berberian and contemporary repertoire. That’s what led me to work with amazing composers in the classical new music world.

Writing, composing and singing hold equally dear places in my heart.

Whenever I have a chance, I talk about music: for example, when I hosted Effemeridi Musicali, a series of short television episodes broadcast by the Italian Television RAI3.


Cristina Zavalloni