Cristina Zavalloni was born in Bologna, Italy. With a strong background in jazz, she broadened her experience by studying bel canto and composition at the G.B. Martini Conservatory in Bologna, complemented by some study of classical and modern dance.
Her performance of both jazz and classical music include such notable venues as the Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Free Music Jazz Festival (Antwerp), Moers Music, Bimhuis (Amsterdam), Umbria Jazz, the London Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center (New York), Theatre Carré and Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Palau de la Musica (Barcelona), Barbican Center (London), New Palace of Arts (Budapest), Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome), Walt Disney Hall (Los Angeles), Biennale Musica in Venice, Sankt Poelten Festspielhaus, Amici della Musica in Firenze.
Zavallon has worked with conductors such as Martyn Brabbins, Stefan Asbury, Reinbert De Leeuw, Oliver Knussen, David Robertson, Jurjen Hempel and Georges-Elie Octor, and has been a soloist with the London Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Schoenberg Ensemble, Sentieri Selvaggi, MusikFabrik, Orkest De Volharding, Orchestra della RAI (Torino) and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
In 1993 Zavalloni began a long-term collaboration with Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. The works he has written for her as soloist and with her duo partner, Dutch-American violinist Monica Germino, include Passeggiata in tram per l’America e ritorno, La Passione, Inanna, Letter from Cathy, Racconto dall’Inferno (the Deutsche Grammohpon recording of which was awarded a Diapason d’Or in 2006), and La Commedia. Other composers who have written works for her include Michael Nyman (Acts of Beauty); Cornelis De Bondt (Gli Tocca la Mano), Paolo Castaldi (A Fair Mask), Gavin Bryars and Carlo Boccadoro. She also took the title role in Andriessen’s opera Anaïs Nin.
In 2003 Zavalloni began to explore the 20th century repertoire for voice and piano with Andrea Rebaudengo which resulted in performances in the Carnegie Hall and in two CDS: ‘Cristina Zavalloni’ (Sensible Record, 2003) and ‘Tilim Bom’ (Egea, 2008). Zavalloni has also recently sung earlier repertoire, including Drusilla in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Clorinda in Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by Monteverdi, and the principal role in the Platel-Cassol production, VSPRS, based on his Vespri della Beata Vergine.