Home   Biography   Discography   Gallery   Concerts   Contacts
  › English  
Olen Cesari is not only a violin virtuoso but a veritable master of stylistic versatility. Gifted with a rare talent, he fascinates people with a universal music that is a blend of different styles and sounds.
Born in Durres, Albania, Olen begins to study violin at three years of age under the tutelage of his mother, herself a concert violinist. Considered a child prodigy, he performs in public for the first time at the age of five, and at seven gives his first recital in the most important theatre in the city of Durres. At 13, Olen graduates with honours from the Tirana Academy of Music and Arts, and in the same year, wins Albania’s most prestigious music award, the Gold Medal, for best solo instrumentalist.
Granted a scholarship, in 1989 Olen moves to Italy and begins an intensive classical music tour, performing in some of the most important Italian Concert Halls including Palazzo Barberini and Accademia di Francia, performing the major violin concertos by composers such as Wieniawski, Sibelius, Glasunow, Tchaikovsky, Bach and Mendelssohn.
At 14, he surprises audiences with his perfect performances of Paganini’s intensely challenging 24 Capricci, and at 15 wins the “Rodolfo Lipizer” award, one of the most prestigious international competitions for classical violinists. At only 17 years of age, Olen graduates cum laude from Rome’s renowned Santa Cecilia Conservatory, the youngest violinist to graduate in the history of the Italian conservatory.
In 1992, he wins the Mozart Award, and with it admittance to the famous Mozarteum in Salzburg. Under the Italian-American Maestro, Ruggiero Ricci, whom he considers his true mentor, Olen wins coveted first prizes in all the competitions he enters, such as the international “Foyer des Artistes” award for his excellent interpretation of Paganini’s works. Still a teenager, Olen is invited to play in many European theatres, including a memorable concert in Salzburg’s Landestheater where Maestro Ricci honours Olen by allowing him to play his priceless Stradivarius violin. Olen completes his Austrian experience by graduating for the third time with honours after just one year of study, instead of the usual four.
In 1993, Olen moves from Salzburg to Detroit in the United States and for a year continues his activity as a solo violinist performing in the most important theatres including the Masonic Temple Theatre of Detroit and the Silk Road Theatre of Chicago.
In 1994, Olen moves to New York where he begins to explore different kinds of music: jazz, black, soul, rap, country and ethnic. His favourite clubs, in this period, are the Tabac Café and the Time Café where every night he performs with as yet relatively unknown artists like Maroon 5, Lenny Kravitz and Sheryl Crow. His encounter with these artists widens his musical horizons and he discovers he even likes pop and contemporary music. In New York he also works with Danny Elfman the composer of the soundtracks for Tim Burton’s movies.
In 1996, he returns to Rome and the club “Il Locale”, favourite venue for all the musicians of the new “Roman school”, also becomes his reference point for live performances. In the same period he founds the Liebhaber Konzert Trio (LKT), with Giuseppe Pistone (guitar) and Alessandra D’Andrea (flute). The LKT sets off on a two-year European concert tour performing the works of Rossini, Mozart, Haydn, Debussy and Piazzolla completely rearranged and readapted. The trio is also invited to participate in the 40th Spoleto Festival. In this period he plays with various popular and ethnic music groups among which the Meridia and the popular Balkan group, the Ogila.
In 1997, he begins to work with Franco Califano, a collaboration that will last for three years. In 1998, he meets one of the most important artists on the Italian music scene, Lucio Dalla who, so impressed by his talent asks Olen to join him on a world tour during which he will play in the most prestigious theatres around the globe. However, the climax of this experience is the exhibition before Pope John Paul II during the XXIII Eucharistic Congress in Bologna in front of an audience of two million people, when on the same occasion, Olen has the honour of performing alongside rock legend Bob Dylan and the unforgettable jazz pianist Michel Petrucciani.
In 2001, he tours with Anna Oxa for a year, and also starts to play live with Simone Cristicchi. However, his most long-lasting partnership is with one of the most interesting artists on the Italian music scene, Sergio Cammariere, with whom he has been playing for fifteen years.
In 2004, he founds his own independent label “Olen Art” and produces the song “ Tutta la vita in un momento”; translated into English with the title of “Back in town” and sung by the Canadian artist Matt Dusk, it is soon high up on the international music charts.
In May 2010, he plays at the “1st May Concert” in Rome and is invited as special guest by Juliana Pasha, one of Albania’s most famous singers, to the EuroVision Song Contest in Oslo.
Olen has a great love for movies and in particular for writing soundtracks. With Sergio Cammariere he has composed and produced the music for the movie “L’Italiano” directed by Ennio de Dominicis, for Maria Sole Tognazzi’s drama “Non finisce qui” and for the documentary “Mattia Preti, il pennello e la spada”, directed by Francesco Cabras and Alberto Molinari. He has composed the music for the short film “Diamonds, Bullets and Fate”, winner of the Gold Grand Jury Award at the Houston Texas Film in 2005. In 2006 he composes the violin score for the documentary “The Big Question” by Ganga Film, shot on the set of Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ”.
His first album “UNEXPECTED” (Olen Art) is released.
«I had the idea for this disc last August (2009) when, playing in a trio, I took part in a concert with other great artists for the musical event, “Campi Sonori”, in L’Aquila. For me it was a very emotional occasion, I knew I was playing to an audience that was different from those I was accustomed to. A multitude of people struck by a tragedy, by a grief difficult for us even to imagine. After the first few pieces I suddenly realised they were dancing, eyes closed, swaying to the rhythm, as if the music were transporting them to faraway places. In that very instant I decided that we would do the concert together; I discarded the play list I had prepared and asked them where they would like to be in that very moment. My question roused a chorus of suggestions and we set off on a musical journey around the world across the four continents. I have always known that music has the capacity to move people deeply and unite them. This is what happened that evening and it is something I will never forget.»
This is how “UNEXPECTED” – Olen’s first solo album - was born; nine great classics and four new compositions.
Through Olen’s profound sensitivity and kaleidoscopic spirit and thanks to special guests of the highest calibre, unforgettable classics have been masterly revived. Songs like “Anema e Core” (Italy) with the voice of Lucio Dalla and the piano of Sergio Cammariere; “Sweet Georgia Brown” (U.S.A.) with Fabrizio Bosso, international jazz star, on the trumpet; the fascinating voice of Rosalia De Souza in “Aguas de Março” (Brazil) and Elsa Lila, ambassadress of Albanian music around the world in “A Kanë Ujë Ato Burime”.
Two of the new compositions deserve a particular mention, “Om Namah Shivaya” (India) with Massimo Di Cataldo and “Dreamtime” (Australia) with the “Lord of Bass” Tony Levin who are joined by other well-known musicians of exceptional talent: Luca Bulgarelli and Shama Milan (bass), Daniele di Bonaventura (bandoneon), Amedeo Ariano (drums) and Simone Haggiag (percussions).

UNEXPECTED, a musical excursion that thrills and enchants, a melting pot of sounds, voices and colours that evoke faraway lands. A journey on the notes of a violin that reaches deep down in one’s soul.