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About Francesca Dego

Italian violinist Francesca Dego has been identified with extreme virtuoso repertory, but after signing with the Deutsche Grammophon label she has also gained attention for a survey of Beethoven's sonatas for violin and piano.

Dego was born in Lecco, Italy, on March 17, 1989. Her father, Giuliano Dego, was an Italian journalist and amateur violinist, and her mother, Margaret Straus, was an American of Jewish background; her training has encompassed both Italian and American elements. Dego took up the violin, studying with her father, at age four. By the next year she had already won admittance to California's Fairbanks School of Performing Arts. At nine she met violinist Daniele Gay, who became her primary teacher. After graduating from the Milan Conservatory in 2006 she moved to the Royal College of Music in London for a master's degree, which she received in 2010. Dego's style has also been shaped by instruction from Salvatore Accardo and Shlomo Mintz.

Dego made her debut at seven in San Diego with an all-Bach concert. She gave a concert with Mintz and the Israel Sinfonietta at 16, and since then she has collaborated with the likes of Accardo, Roger Norrington, Christopher Hogwood, and Xian Zhang. In 2014 Dego participated in a "Violinists of Hope" concert in Rome together with 12 violinists and one cellist survivor of the Holocaust; the concert was broadcast on Italy's national RAI network. The winner of a range of international prizes, in 2008 Dego became the first Italian woman since 1961 to make the final round in the Paganini Prize competition in Genoa. In 2015 Dego married conductor Daniele Rustioni.

An early recording of Dego playing Beethoven was used in the 2004 film The Gerson Miracle, which won the Palme d'Or at the Beverly Hills Film Festival that year. Signed to Deutsche Grammophon in 2012, Dego released a recording of the 24 Caprices of Paganini, a composer in whose work she has specialized. She then embarked, however, on a cycle of Beethoven violin sonatas. In 2017 she released her concerto debut, featuring the Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 6, of Paganini, and the relatively neglected Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 26 (1943), of Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. The conductor was Rustioni, leading the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. ~ James Manheim