“A pianist rare in his generation, shining above all in the art of singing on the keyboard with an inventiveness of phrasing that demonstrates his exquisite musical intelligence”.
Carlo Vitali, Amadeus.
Costantino Catena has performed in Europe, Australia, U.S.A., Russia and Japan at the invitation of important musical and cultural associations and institutes, including the St. Petersburg Philharmonia, the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, the Kennedy Center and Georgetown University of Washington, Amici del Teatro Regio of Torino, Associazione Scarlatti of Napoli, Amici della Musica of Trapani, the Yasar Concert Hall of Izmir, the Winchester University, the Auditorium Parco della Musica of Rome, the Gasteig of Munich, the Dante Alighieri Society, the Teatro Goldoni of Livorno, the Liszt Memorial Museum of Budapest, the Ravello International Festival, the Alghero International Festival, the Filarmonica De Stat Transilvania of Cluj-Napoca, the Liszt Institute of Bologna, the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, the Kusatsu International Festival, the Ohrid Summer Festival.
His extensive recording activity is mainly focused on the great romantic repertoire, but it ranges from the 1700s to the 1900s. It rediscovers some rarities and first performances of the Italian piano and chambers repertoire, which also contributed to promote less known artists. He began collaborating with the Japanese label Camerata Tokyo in 2010, recording the complete Liszt work for violin and piano and, later, several solo CDs. He is currently recording the whole Schumann’s piano repertoire. For Brilliant Classics he recorded the piano music of the Italian-German composer Ermanno Wolf Ferrari, most of which in world premiere, and the Sonatas for violin and piano by the same author (with violinist Davide Alogna), already CD cover of the month for the Suonare News magazine in August 2020. Several times CD of the month and 5-stars award from the magazine Musica (October 2015, March 2020, May 2021), his records have received enthusiastic reviews from prestigious international magazines as well. In August 2016 the CD “Two saints – Francis of Assisi & Francis of Paola” was chosen as one of the best records by the Japanese magazine “Record Geijutsu”, while the American magazine Fanfare defined the first CD of the complete Schumann’s repertoire as “absolute, three-dimensional poetry”. He has also recorded for the labels Da Vinci Classics, Phoenix, Nuova Era International and Aulicus and his recordings have often been broadcast in Italy and abroad (by Rai Radiotelevisione Italiana, NHK Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai, RSI Radio of Italian Switzerland, MR Magyar Rádió)
d excellent reviews from leading magazines and important music critics: «In Nuits d’été à Pausilippe and Soirées Musicales de Rossini Costantino Catena strikes the perfect balance of sentiment and relaxed charm in readings that could scarcely be more idiomatic. In Carnaval de Venise Catena revels in the droll humor and far-fetched technical demands of Liszt’s setting, creating a listening experience that’s great fun. In Venezia e Napoli, the supplement to Book 2 of the Années de pèlerinage, Catena exhibits his natural, unaffected feeling toward the music’s popular source materials. The extended trio of the famous Tarantella is almost ethereal in its beauty. This triptych, recorded so frequently over the past couple of years, is here as deliciously atmospheric and echt-Italian as one could wish.» (Patrick Rucker, Fanfare Magazine - USA); «Catena jumps through the many circus hoops of Liszt’s “Tarantella di bravura sulla Muette di Portici” with grace and fluency. He is finely sensitive in RW – Venezia, capturing all of Liszt’s desolation as he watched Wagner’s funeral procession of gondolas glide down the Grand Canal» (Bryce Morrison, Gramophone UK); «He is able to exploit the delicious mechanics of the Yamaha piano as only Richter, in my memory, was successful before: the result is a performance in which every note is given meaning, an interpretation in which nothing is left to chance and yet nothing seems studied, the music running elastic, airy, full of vitality» (Bernardo Pieri, Musica); «Interpretations full of grace and sensitivity» (Paolo Isotta). «It was only natural that Liszt sought creative inspirations in Italy and produced a good number of music works related to Italy. These are performed by the Italian-born Catena, who makes excellent use of diverse sense of colours and liberated tones unique to those who were born and brought up in Italy. When one listens to Catena’s interpretations, one is made aware that in fact, in music works by Liszt, who is prone to being labelled as a ‘German musician’ or ‘Hungarian musician,’ more charm lies hidden. As well as the fact that Italy was still one of the greatest centres of music during his era» (Masayasu Komiya); «Catena has a wonderful technique and his pure and simple interpretation draws the world of Liszt. His music is sometimes sweet and wonderful, sometimes majestic and serene» (Jiro Hamada, Geijutsu Record); «The sounds he brings out of the piano and the breaks between are beautiful. The deep sound with the rich tone and elegant phrasing bring music to a very pure level, transcending the level of physical emotion» (Tsutomi Nasuda, Geijutsu Record).
Recent reviews include: “Costantino Catena has again confirmed his quality as a great pianist. His Liszt is never superficial, and rather than succumbing to the temptation of an overblown and predictable virtuosity imposed on the pianist by a somewhat treacherous and devilish composer, he draws out the nuances as only a great and intelligent artist can. A recital of the highest caliber, an artist of international stature.” (Marco del Vaglio) “In Schumann Piano Concerto Costantino Catena gives insights into some original phrasing, particularly in his articulation of the main themes, which attest to a mature pianist capable of reconciling the balance between structural and emotional emphasis.” (Santi Calabrò, Amadeus). “Costantino Catena is a lisztian at international level” (Andrea Bedetti, Audiophile Sound). Active in the field of chamber music, Costantino Catena has collaborated with leading artists such as Alessandro Carbonare, Michele Lomuto, Franco Maggio Ormezowski, Gabriele Geminiani, Saschko Gawriloff, Sabrina-Vivian Hopker, Claudio Casadei, Massimo Quarta, Lynne Dawson, Maja Bogdanovich, Claudio Brizi, Quartetto Savinio. In collaboration with the musicologist Paolo Scarnecchia launched an exploration of the repertoire of “turcherie”, and more generally of orientalist inspiration, consists of fantasies, variations, paraphrases, reductions and rêveries, and presented as a conversation-concert.
After graduating from the "G. Martucci" Salerno State Conservatoire with top marks and cum laude under the guidance of Luigi D'Ascoli, Costantino Catena continued and completed his piano studies with Konstantin Bogino, Bruno Mezzena and Boris Bechterev. Encounters with Aldo Ciccolini, Michele Campanella and Joaquin Achucarro have also been important landmarks in his musical education. Costantino Catena is actively involved in teaching at several Academies and Universities including The Ignacy Jan Paderewski Academy of Music (Poznań, Poland), the Tromsø University College (Tromsø, Norway), the Music College of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Moscow, Russia), the Winchester University, the Babes-Bloyai University (Cluj-Napoca, Romania) and the Yasar University (Izmir, Turkey) and teaches regularly in Avellino, where he chairs the piano professorship in the "D. Cimarosa" State Conservatoire.
Alongside his performing activities he graduated in Philosophy at the Salerno University and in Psychology at the Naples University, with a particular focus on issues concerning the management of psychological and physiological aspects during musical performance.
Costantino Catena is official Yamaha Artist.