Formed in 1994 during their studies at the Juilliard School in New York, the Zappa.Mainolfi duo had its debut as part of the Chamber Music Series in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in 1994.
Continuing its training, the duo has worked with such artists as Harvey Shapiro, Felix Galimir, and Oxana Yablonskaya in New York, Thomas Demenga and Gérard Wyss in Basel, Maria Curcio in London, Ferenc Rados, Andràs Schiff, and Steven Isserlis at the IMS Seminars in Cornwall in which they regularly take part from 1999. From 2001-2004 they completed their Master's studies with Pier Narciso Masi at the Accademia "Incontri col Maestro" in Imola, Italy.
In addition to their work together, Mainolfi and Zappa are highly regarded soloists. In 1996, pianist Massimiliano Mainolfi was awarded top honors at the Young Concert Artists International Competition in New York, culminating with a solo Debut Recital at Carnegie's Recital Hall. Furthermore, Mattia Zappa, cellist, has performed as soloist with the Basel Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana of Lugano and the Schweizer Kammerphilharmonie.
The Zappa.Mainolfi Duo has recently performed extensively in many european countries such as England, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Switzerland, and Italy. They have been touring South Africa several times and performed in 2010 at Carnegie Hall a benefit concert for a musical project in the township Soweto, helping disadvantaged kids in their musical studies.
Additionally, they have been featured at the Montreux Festival and Davos Festival in Switzerland, the IMS Prussia Cove in Great Britain, the Lascours Festival in France, and the Summit Music Festival in New York, where they are regularly invited as chamber music faculty. The duo has recorded for Radio Suisse Romande Espace 2, Swiss German Radio DRS 2, Radio della Svizzera italiana, Rai 3, Deutschland Radio and for the Italian labels "Ducale" and "Lyra Classica".
In May 2008 the Duo released a CD of the complete Sonatas by B.Martinu published by the swiss label "Claves Records".Prize winners of several international competitions such as “Vittorio Gui” Florence (2001), G.B. Viotti-Vercelli (2000), Città di Pinerolo (1999),Trio di Trieste (2002), the Duo made its Carnegie Recital Hall Debut in 2001 and in 2003 their live broadcast debut at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall.
In January 2011 the swiss label "Claves Records" published their second CD with works by E. Grieg and J. Sibelius.
In 2015, they recorded their last album "A Russian Album" with Claves.