Wagner Petrilli discovered his passion for the violao at an early age in the streets of Brazil. He grew up apprenticing under various artists in the music scenes of Sao Paulo and the coastal city of Santos. From 1994 to 1997 he studied violao (guitar), harmony and history at the Conservatorio Municipal de Santos. After that Wagner honed his skills under the tutelage of renowned artists Filo Machado and Helio Delmiro.
In 1998 Wagner moved to Toronto and immersed himself in the city’s Brazilian music scene. He has performed in numerous music venues and celebrations throughout Toronto including the Harbourfront Centre, Via Italia Festival, Taste of the Danforth, and the Brazilian Ball. Wagner has also performed throughout Ontario and Canada, including the Stratford Festival, the Halifax Jazz Festival, the Kingston Jazz Festival and the Elora Festival, and at high profile venues including Massey Hall and Koerner Hall.
In 2003 Wagner began teaching Brazilian guitar (violao) at The Royal Conservatory of Music in the World Music faculty. He has taught both private lessons and workshops to students with widely varying musical abilities. In 2009, he received his Artist-Educator certificate from The Conservatory’s Learning Through the Arts program.
In 2006 Wagner was the recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts grant for professional musicians to study guitar and violao with Celso Machado in Gibsons, British Columbia.
In 2009, Wagner’s band Sambacana received a Canada Council for the Arts grant to record a full-length CD which was entitled Nos.
Wagner has been composing songs and writing lyrics for the better part of his life in a variety of styles, most of which would be considered World Music, and specifically the music of Brazil. In 2011, he received a Toronto Arts Council grant to compose and arrange 10 songs for a full-length CD of his own compositions. In 2012, he received a Canada Council for the Arts grant for recording this CD. The CD is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2014.