Extended Biography

Marco Santilli, a distinguished Swiss clarinetist and composer, was born in Locarno and raised in Giornico. After completing his formal education with a Premier Prix de Virtuosité in orchestral, teaching, and solo clarinet performance from the conservatories of Zurich and Lausanne, Santilli turned his focus towards improvisation and composition. He skillfully blends various musical influences to create a distinctive style that defies traditional classification.

Santilli’s compositional work includes commissioned pieces for notable festivals such as Alpentöne, Stubete am See, Concerti in San Martino, and Museo Vela. His extensive discography features ten albums and numerous EPs and singles, showcasing a versatile repertoire that spans jazz, classical, world music, folk, pop, and rock. His performances have graced stages across Europe, Asia, and the United States.

In addition to his solo work, Santilli collaborates with various ensembles. He is a member of the Philharmonia Zurich Orchestra, where he has contributed to the “Telling Stories with Music” series at the Zurich Opera House. His ability to seamlessly integrate into diverse musical settings is further exemplified by his arrangements for big bands, wind orchestras, and clarinet choirs.

Santilli’s expertise extends into education and leadership within the music community. From 2013 to 2018, he served on the board of the Swiss Clarinet Society and, since June 2015, has been a member of the SUISA Works and Distribution Commission. He has also been a dedicated conductor of the Swiss Clarinet Orchestra from 2019 to 2022.

Innovative Projects

Marco Santilli’s innovative projects include the oneiric jazz/world duo with guitarist Peo Alfonsi, “Orgelwind” and “CheRoba in due” with Ivan Tibolla as well as with his nonet “CheRoba & il Fiato delle Alpi.” The latter group is a unique ensemble blending a jazz quartet with a classical wind quintet. This formation was conceived to musically symbolize the legendary tales from Ticino’s rural heritage. Recorded at Hardstudios in Winterthur and co-produced by SRF2, Santilli’s music combines acoustic and earthy sounds to evoke the supernatural elements of these stories, offering a genre-transcending experience that rivals the best European chamber jazz​.

Recent Works

Santilli’s latest project, “Stralüsh,” is an electro duo featuring Simone Menozzi on piano and electronics, and Marco Santilli on bass clarinet. Rooted in classical music and enriched with jazz influences, Stralüsh’s live performances are noted for their unique fusion of these genres with electronic sounds. The duo’s debut EP, “Stralüsh,” was released in June 2022, followed by “Bay Patsy” in April 2024. Their repertoire includes original compositions and inventive adaptations of classics like “Tetris,” “Cantina Band” from Star Wars, Benny Goodman’s “Sing Sing Sing,” Peggy Lee’s “Fever,” and The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby”​.

A recognized artist in the industry, Santilli is an official endorser of Henri Selmer Paris and Silverstein Works, using their clarinets and accessories to enhance his performance and sound projection.

For more information and to explore his music, visit his official website at Marco Santilli