Pier Renzo Ponzo was born in Cuneo in August 8th, 1960.
At the age of 10 he began to play the clarinet in the brass band of his home town of Carrù, Piedmont – Italy, where he still lives.
After graduating in clarinet, since 1980 he is active as a concert artist, composer and arranger, sounds inventor and musician-actor.
He plays an eclectic variety of instrument – clarinets, saxophones, recorders, percussion, ethnical instruments, scrap instruments and his own voice – he meanders across the musical landscape, from avant-garde jazz to classical music, from pop to contemporary music, from rock to ethnic and folk music, from funky to original songs.
From 1983 to 2006 he collaborated with Carlo Actis Dato, as part of his world renowned quartet, considered in international reviews as the most original and amusing of the new generation of Italian jazz.
Since 1991 Piero Ponzo has worked with Gianmaria Testa, for whom he arranged and directed the albums Montgolfiéres and Altre latitudini. With him he regularly toured in Europe and North America.
Since 1992 he has been active with the folk musical cabaret band Trelilu and their never-ending tour.
From 1991 to 1996, in the team of Emanuele Ruffinengo, he has been creating advertising campaigns and jingles for important Italian radio networks (such as 105 Network & Radio MonteCarlo) and was the arranger for some Italian pop music productions.
From 2000 to 2005 he played either as a soloist Sound catcher, or with groups he founded, such as: Electrifié Duo – together with the double bass and electric bass virtuoso Federico Marchesano, Loop Killers – trio with Federico Marchesano and the french drummer Eríc Groleau, Piero Ponzo & Colleagues – with Roberto Taufic, Filippo Gambetta, Federico Marchesano, Gilson Silveira, Riccardo Serra, Black sun & other paintings – duo with Simona Colonna.
He has played with: Enrico Rava, Stefano Bollani, Banda Osiris, Enzo Pietropaoli, Philippe Val, Atipico Trio, Actis Furioso, Mitteleuropa Orchestra di Andrea Centazzo, Nexus Orchestra, Gianluigi Trovesi, Riccardo Tesi, Pino Minafra, Elena Roggero, Caesar Stroscio, Emanuel Binet, David Lewis, Philippe Garcia and a lot of other musicians, actors, mime artists, painters and writers.
He can be found on more than sixty records and he composes chamber and electro-acoustic music, songs and pop music, music for brass bands, for ballet, for theatre and video, for educational and exhibition.
He has been a guest in prestigious musical festivals, clubs, radio and video transmissions in Italy, France, Swizterland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Lithuania, Slovenia, Serbia, Greece, Spain, Martinique, Canada, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.
He played in: Addis Ababa, Athens, Belgrade, Berlin, Berne, Brussels, Helsinki, Ljubljana, Madrid, Ottawa, Paris, Rabat, Rome, Stockholm, The Hague, Tokyo, Tunis, Vilnius, Wellington, Wien
Aix-en-Provence, Amiens, Amsterdam, Angers, Antwerp, Aosta, Asti, Auckland, Avignon, Barcelona, Bari, Basel, Berchidda, Bergamo, Besançon, Blois, Bologna, Bolzano, Bonn, Bourges, Bordeaux, Bremen, Brescia, Brest, Bruges, Cagliari, Calgari, Cape Town, Casablanca, Chicago, Clermont-Ferrand, Cologne, Cuneo, Darmstadt, Dortmund, Dresden, Durban, Dusseldorf, Edmonton, Ferrara, Florence, Forte dei marmi, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Fukui, Genoa, Gent, Gibellina, Geneva, Graz, Grenoble, Groningen, Hamburg, Hamilton, Hannover, Heidelberg, Iglesias, Innsbruck, Jena, Karlsruhe, Kaunas, Kragujevac, Lamentin, LeMans, Liege, Lipsia, Los Angeles, Lucca, Luxemburg, Lucerne, Lyon, Mantova, Marseille, Melbourne, Metz, Milan, Modena, Montpellier, Montréal, Munich, Mulhouse, Münster, Nagoya, Nantes, Naples, Neuchatel, New York, Nimes, Noci, Noto, Novara, Novi Sad, Nuremberg, Orleans, Oulu, Palermo, Parma, Patras, Perpignan, Perugia, Pisa, Potsdam, Quebec City, Ragusa, Rennes, Regensburg, Rotterdam, Rouen, Salzburg, Santander, S.Anna Arresi, Sassari, Savona, Seville, Siena, Sydney, Siracusa, Stockard, Strasburg, Tabarka, Taranto, Tortona, Toronto, Toulose, Tours, Trento, Turin, Turku, Utrecht, Ulm, Valence, Venice, Verona, Vicenza, Wuppertal, Yokohama, Zurich, Zwolle, and in many many other places.
Piero Ponzo was the artistic director for the Suoni Virtuosi dal Mondo Festival, organised from 2001 to 2003 by New Creative Energy, and he founded the publishing house Music for People together with Chiara Gallo.
On stage also in:
Guarda che Luna, 2001-2009, together with Enrico Rava, Banda Osiris, Gianmaria Testa, Stefano Bollani, Enzo Pietropaoli, under the direction of Giorgio Gallione.
L’isola sconosciuta, 2001, with Riccardo Tesi, Gianmaria Testa, Carla Signoris, Giuseppe Cederna, based on the tale by Josè Saramago, under the direction of Giorgio Gallione.
Raccontarsuonando, 2002, compositions for tentet to accompany texts by Carlo Lucarelli, Marco Lodoli, Marco Revelli, Gianni Mura, Gianmaria Testa, Marco Neirotti and Marco Vacchetti.
Rossintesta, 2004, with Paolo Rossi, Gianmaria Testa, Emanuele Dell’Aquila, Enzo Pietropaoli.
La Ballata di Myster Barmoon, 2005, the tragedy written by Giannino Balbis, with Michele Rados and Ada Prucca.
Black sun & other paintings, 2006-08, with Simona Colonna on cello & flute and narration by Marco Vacchetti.
Le rovine di Manhur, 2007, the tragedy written by Giannino Balbis, with Michele Rados, Ada Prucca and Diego Tampalini.
Oscillazioni libere, 2007, a duet with Marlen Pizzo, improvisations and readings from different authors.
Mi sussurrò mio padre, 2008, a duet with Debora Manassero, original songs based on Rosa Massari’s texts.
Nulla più entra, 2009, with Debora Manassero, voice, and Fulvia Romeo, narration, from a tale written by Rosa Massari.
Pierone e il Bue, 2009, with Banda Osiris and Ottavo Richter.
Polifonie informali, 2009, solo performance on iron sculptures made by Enzo Mastrangelo.
Translation: Tom Badman