Born in Bologna (Italy), Cristina Zavalloni’s musical background is steeped in jazz, belcanto, and composition. She attended the Conservatorio di Musica “Giovan Battista Martini”, in both singing and composition classes, and also studied classical and modern dance for years.
She has performed in both classical series and jazz festivals in the world most notable venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Teatro alla Scala, Palau de la Música Catalana (Barcelona), Barbican Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome), Teatro La Fenice, Walt Disney Hall, Moscow International House of Music, Beijing Concert Hall, Teatro La Fenice (Venice), Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz, London Jazz Festival, Klara Festival, Les nuits de Fourvière (Lyon), Grande Auditório – Fundacão Gulbenkian (Lisbon), New Palace of Arts (Budapest), etc.
She has sung under the batons of Martyn Brabbins, Stefan Asbury, Reinbert de Leeuw, Ivan Fischer, Oliver Knussen, David Robertson, Georges-Elie Octors, Marco Angius, Jurjen Hempel, among others. She has performed as a soloist with ensembles and orchestras such as London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Asko-Schoenberg Ensemble, Sentieri Selvaggi, Musik Fabrik Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI (Torino), Schoenberg Ensemble, Los Angeles Philharmonic, ORT, Orchestra Toscanini, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Tiroler Symphonie Orchester.
Her activity ranges from contemporary music and 20th century repertoire – including Ravel, Poulenc, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Satie, De Falla, Montsalvatge, Cage, Berio, Bernstein – to jazz, where she mainly performs her own music. She has performed with some of the most renowned jazz musicians worldwide such as Jason Moran, Uri Caine, Paolo Fresu and Brazilian musicians such as Hamilton de Hollanda and Guinga.
Since 1993, she collaborates closely with Dutch composer Louis Andriessen, who wrote some of his recent works for her: Passeggiata in tram per l’America e ritorno, La Passione (2002), Inanna (2003), Letter from Cathy (2003), Racconto dall’Inferno (2004), the role of Dante in the opera La Commedia (2008), the monodrama Anaïs Nin (2010) and the role of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz in the opera Theatre of the World (2016). She has premiered pieces by Carlo Boccadoro, Luca Mosca, Emanuele Casale, Mauro Montalbetti, Cronelis De Bondt, Michael Nyman, James McMillan.
Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs and Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire both play an important role in her repertoire, together with Manuel De Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares and Francis Poulenc’s La voix humaine.
She performed baroque operas, such Monteverdi’s Incoronazione di Poppea and Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, in collaboration with directors and choreographers such as Mario Martone and Alain Platel (VSPRS and Pitié!). She created the program Barocco! together with the jazz brass quartet Brass Bang! (Paolo Fresu, Gianluca Petrella, Marcus Rojas, Steven Bernstein).
In 2013 she presented in Rome a new project inspired by Baroque authors with the ensemble Brass Bang! (Paolo Fresu, Gianluca Petrella, Steve Bernstein, Marcus Rojas), with which she toured Italy’s most renown venues throughout all the following year. In 2013, during Britten’s 100 celebrations, she debuted in Rape of Lucretia, Turn of the screw (November, Teatro Comunale di Bologna) and Phaedra. She also debuted in the leading role in Carmen (Bizet – Tronco) at Les Nuits de Fourvière (Lyon, France). She wrote and presented a TV show on new music, Effemeridi musicali di Cristina Zavalloni (RAI 3). She toured Italy most important jazz venue with her latest original project, La donna di Cristallo (Egea 2012), together with Radar Band (Casa del Jazz Roma, Atelier Musicale Milano, Torino Jazz Festival, Lugo Opera Festival, Milan’s Atelier Musicale opening).
In December she was in New York to record her new CD, The Soul Factor, with Uri Caine and an all-american band. In 2014 she sang at Cartagena’s VIII Music Festival (Jan. 3-12th), at Zorlu Center PAC (Turkey), she was on a US tour with concerts presenting Louis Andriessen’s chamber music works, and performed L. Berio’s Folk Songs at La Società del Quartetto in Milano (Jan 21st) and Rome’s Auditorium S. Cecilia (Jan 31st).
During the summer, she performs the title role of Carmen secondo Piazza Vittorio at Terme di Caracalla (Opera of Rome). She gives life to her new jazz quartet, Special Dish.
In 2015 she debuted in Mauro Montalbetti’s latest opera, Corpi eretici. Dramma musicale pasoliniano in 9 canti, she sang Andriessen’s Passione at Koeln’s Philharmonie, she sang in Warsaw’s Royal Castle with pianist Andrea Rebaudengo and in Amsterdam and Utrecht with Ludwig Ensemble, presenting works by Berio and De Falla.
In 2016 she spends several months giving life to the role of Sor Juana in Andriessen’s new opera Theatre of the World (Los Angeles and Amsterdam).
During the summer she teaches at Siena Jazz Summer Clinics and in the fall she premieres Luca Mosca’s American Songs (written for her). She piece is performed at Bologna Festival and at Venice Fondazione Vedova.
Cristina Zavalloni’s discography includes both CD’s under her name and several collaborations.
For EGEA label she recorded IDEA (2006), Tilim Bom (2008), Solidago (2009), La donna di cristallo (2012). In 2014, she made the CD The Soul Factor with Uri Caine (Jando Music/Via Veneto Jazz). At present she works with the label Encore Jazz, for which she published Special Dish (2016).