Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi has been described as a “musical alchemist” and a “musical polyglot” by the press. He left his native Italy to study jazz piano and early music at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, where he obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
He moved to Ireland in 2004, where he’s currently based and where he is active as a freelance musician. He is equally at home playing with jazz veterans Dave Liebman and Bill Frisell as he is with Irish traditional sean-nós singer Roisin El Safty and with tarantella specialist Lucilla Galeazzi. Turrisi has toured with Bobby McFerrin, played baroque operas with ensemble L’Arpeggiata, toured with the Silkroad Ensemble, interpreted the music of Steve Reich with Bang on a Can All Stars, accompanied flamenco star Pepe El Habichuela and Greek singer Savina Yannatou.
He has released five critically acclaimed albums as a leader and two as co-leader (Tarab, a cross boundary innovative ensemble that blends Irish and Mediterranean traditional music, and Zahr, a project that looks at connections between southern Italian traditional music and Arabic music).
His latest piano solo album Northern Migrations was described as “delicate, wistful, and wholly engrossing” by the Irish Times. Since 2018 he collaborates with American Grammy- winning singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, on a duo project that seamlessly combines music from the Mediterranean with music from the African diaspora in the Americas. In 2019 Giddens and Turrisi released their critically acclaimed duo album There Is No Other. The album single “I’m On My Way” was nominated for a 2020 Grammy. Their 2021 second duo album They’re Calling Me Home was nominated for two Grammy awards and won as best folk album at the 2022 Grammy Awards.
His long list of collaborations include Bobby McFerrin, Dave Liebman, Gianluigi Trovesi, Bill Frisell, Rhiannon Giddens, the Silkoad Ensemble, Nils Landgren, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Gavin Bryars, Gabriele Mirabassi, Rolando Villazon, Lisa Hannigan, Savina Yannatou, Maria Pia de Vito, Theodosii Spassov, The King’s Singers, Veronique Gens, Philippe Jaroussky, Pepe el Habichuela, and Lucilla Galeazzi.