Cristina Zavalloni was born in Bologna, Italy. With her strong background in jazz, she went on to expand her studies in bel canto and in composition at the G.B. Martini Conservatory in Bologna. She also studied classical and modern dance for many years.
Her multidimensional skills enable her to perform both jazz and classical music. Notable jazz venues include the Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Free Music Jazz Festival (Antwerp), Moers Music, Bimhuis (Amsterdam), Umbria Jazz and the London Jazz Festival. Classical festivals and venues include Lincoln Center (New York), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Palau de la Musica (Barcelona), Barbican Center (London), New Palace of Arts (Budapest), Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome) and the Walt Disney Hall (Los Angeles).
Zavalloni has worked with conductors such as Martyn Brabbins, Stefan Asbury, Reinbert De Leeuw, Oliver Knussen, David Robertson, Jurjen Hempel and Georges-Elie Octor. She has soloed with the London Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Schoenberg Ensemble, Sentieri Selvaggi, MusikFabrik, Orkest De Volharding, Orchestra della RAI (Torino) and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Primarily devoted to new music, Zavalloni collaborates closely with Dutch composer Louis Andriessen, who wrote several works for her, including Passeggiata in tram per l'America e ritorno, La Passione, Inanna, Letter from Cathy, and Racconto dall'Inferno. In 2008, she will perform a leading role in Andriessen's new opera. She has also collaborated with composer Michael Nyman, who created the piece Acts of Beauty for her, with Cornelis De Bondt, who wrote Gli Toccha la Mano for her, with Paolo Castaldi, who wrote A Fair Mask for her, and Gavin Bryars.
Zavalloni has recently immersed herself in baroque music: in 2005 she sang Drusilla in Monteverdi's Incoronazione di Poppea at Opera du Rhin de Strasbourg, directed by David McVicar and conducted by Rinaldo Alessandrini. She performed Clorinda in Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda at Ravello Festival, directed by Mario Martone with a musical arrangement by composer Giorgio Battistelli. In 2006, she sang the title role in Alain Platel's and Fabrizio Cassol's newest production, VSPRS, based on Monteverdi's Vespri della Beata Vergine. Throughout 2006 and 2007, Zavalloni will tour the world with this show, together with the dance company Les Ballets C de la B.
Zavalloni has created several programs: Scoiattoli Confusi (duo with pianist Stefano De Bonis), When you go yes is yes! (with her Open Quartet), Metti una sera, a homage to the Italian Song of the 1960's (commissioned by Musica 90 Festival Turin, 2003), Con tutto il mio amore, tribute to Cathy Berberian 20 years later (Teatro Ariosto, Reggio Emilia, 2003), Idea (2006), I Testimoni (premiere April 2007, commissioned by Piccolo Teatro Regio and Unione Musicale Turin).
In 2003 she started exploring the 20th century chamber repertoire for voice and piano in duo with Andrea Rebaudengo. This work culminated in a CD (Cristina Zavalloni, 2003 - Sensible Record) and recitals throughout Europe and Central Asia (Uzbekistan).
She collaborates regularly with pianists Andrea Rebaudengo and Stefano De Bonis, and Dutch-American violinist Monica Germino. She has recorded for Winter & Winter, Felmay, Ishtar, Cantaloupe, and recently signed a contract with the EGEA label.