Brazilian guitarist Luiz Mantovani has built an international career that successfully combines performance, teaching and research. Highlights from past seasons include an all-Villa-Lobos program at the Festival Villa-Lobos in Rio and a film recording of Rebay’s Sonata in E No. 2 at the Heiligenkreuz Abbey in Austria, funded by the Hermann Hauser Guitar Foundation and directly related to his scholarly investigation. Regular collaborations with contemporary composers have led to numerous commissions and premieres along the last two decades, including Israeli Lior Navok’s Guitar Concerto, premiered in 2010 with the Israel Sinfonietta.
A winner of several competitions in his native country, Luiz has also gathered important international prizes such as in the Schadt String Competition (1999), BMOP Concerto Competition (2001) and the Pro Musicis International Award (2002), leading to solo appearances in Carnegie Hall in New York and Salle Cortot in Paris, among others. On one of these occasions, The New York Times described his performance of William Walton’s Five Bagatelles as “powerful, beautifully shaped and practically flawless”. A keen chamber musician, he was a member of the Brazilian Guitar Quartet for 11 years, with whom he performed extensively in four continents. With the BGQ, Luiz recorded three albums for Delos International. The second of them, Brazilian Guitar Quartet plays Villa-Lobos, was awarded the Latin Grammy in 2011 for “best classical album”.
Along with his solo activity, Luiz Mantovani currently performs in the NOVA Guitar Duo with his wife, the German guitarist Nelly von Alven. Hailed by Classical Guitar Magazine as a duo with “tremendous chemistry and synchronicity”, they have released two albums for the Italian label Stradivarius, Sortilegios (2019) and Journey (2022). Exploring the unusual combination of the regular six-string and the eight-string, “Brahms-guitar”, their repertoire includes original music for guitar duo along with their own expert arrangements of piano and ensemble music by such composers as de Falla, Mompou, Villa-Lobos, Bartok and Janacek. In 2017, they gave the UK premiere of Germaine Tailleferre’s Concerto for Two Guitars and Orchestra in London’s Britten Theatre.
Luiz Mantovani holds a PhD from the Royal College of Music in London, where he investigated the chamber sonatas of Viennese composer Ferdinand Rebay. Considered a foremost authority on Rebay, his publications include an entry for Grove Music Online and articles in peer-reviewed journals. He was the first guitarist to be awarded the prestigious Artist Diploma of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, also holding a Master of Music degree from NEC and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. His guitar teachers were David Leisner, Nicolas Barros and Antonio Guedes.
Since 2003, Luiz Mantovani has been teaching at the State University of Santa Catarina – UDESC, in Florianopolis, southern Brazil. A founder of UDESC’s guitar program, he has successfully prepared students for competitions and for furthering their studies abroad, besides actively engaging his class in local outreach activities. In addition to university teaching, Luiz is regularly invited for teaching masterclasses and presenting lectures worldwide.
“Mr. Mantovani’s performance of Walton’s Five Bagatelles was powerful, beautifully shaped and just about flawless.”
The New York Times
“It was a joy then to hear Mr. Mantovani after intermission in a more familiar work by which one could concentrate on his solo artistry. His introspective rendition of the Valsa-Chôro from the Suite Popular Brasileira by Heitor Villa-Lobos was just perfect in its plaintive beauty.”
New York Concert Review
“A marvelous reading of Villa-Lobos’ guitar concerto.”
“Mantovani lavished his bravura skills on Heitor Villa-Lobos’ guitar concerto.”
“[Regondi’s Introduction et Caprice] ended the first half and brought everything together in a performance of nearly world-class brilliance. Mantovani is capable of scintilating feats and will prove a force to be reckoned with.”
Classical Guitar Magazine