Luciano Berio was born in Italy on October 24, 1925. He began his musical studies with his father and continued at the Milan Conservatory with G.C. Paribeni and G.F. Ghedini. In 1954, with composer Bruno Moderna, he founded the electronic studio in Milan, Studio di Fonologia Musicale at the Radiotelevisione Italiana di Milano, which he led until 1961. In 1956 he founded the series Incontri Musicali, and was in charge of the concert activities of this institution until 1960. Berio has held a number of prestigious teaching positions including Tanglewood (1960 and 1982), the Summer School in Dartington (1961 and 1962), Mills College in California (1962 and 1963), Darmstadt, Cologne, Harvard University, and the Juilliard School (1965-1975). Although Berio has explored many musical styles, including serialism, electronic technology, and indeterminancy, it is his treatment of language and a strong sense of theater that is the most remarkable aspect of his music.
Walter Branchi is a gardener and a composer. He taught Electronic Music Composition at both the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome and at the Conservatory G. Rossini in Pesaro. Branchi was member and of the “Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza” from 1966 until 1975. In 1967 Branchi founded the electronic music studio “Studio R7” with Franco Evangelisti, Domenico Guaccero, Egisto Macchi, Gino Marinuzzi jr. and technicians Paolo Ketoff and Guido Guiducci in Rome. He also founded one of the very first state of the art electronic music studios in Italy LEMS (Laboratorio Elettronico per la Musica Sperimentale) (Electronic Studio for Experimental Music) in Pesaro, which he directed for six years.
Walter Branchi is the author of the first text book in Italy on the technology of electronic Music: “Tecnologia della musica elettronica” (“Electronic Music Technology”). He worked with Unesco in Italy publishing theoretical and technical articles and books on contemporary music theory, including “Intervalli e sistemi di intona(“Intervals and Tuning Systems”)and “Verso-l’uno” (“Toward-oneness”).
From 1973 to 1977 he was a member of the “Gruppo Intercodice ALTRO” and in 1977, together with Guido Baggiani, Branchi co-founded “Musica Verticale”.
Walter Branchi taught composition for several years in both the United States and in Canada. In
1979 Branchi won a Fulbright fellowship to Princeton University where he first began his major
work on the composition of “Intero”. In 1983 he was invited by Stanford University as visiting
composer at the CCRMA (Computer Centre Research Music and Acoustics) where he composed
“Le ali di Angelico”; another part of “Intero”. In 1984 he was composer in residence at Simon
Fraser University in Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada), where he also taught composition.
In 1987 he founded Musica/Complessità and in 1996, together with Roberto Laneri,
“Harmonices Mundi” was composed and presented for Orvieto.
Franco Donatoni was born in Verona on June 9, 1927. He began his musical education at the musical secondary school of his native city under Piero Bottagisio, and later studied composition with Ettore Desderi at the G. Verdi Conservatory of Milan, and Lino Liviabella at the G.B. Martini Conservatory in Bolgna. In 1949, Donatoni completed his degree in composition and band orchestration. In 1950 he took a second degree, this time in Choral music, and in 1951, took a final degree in composition.
From 1953-1978, Donatoni taught at the conservatories of Bolgna, Turin, and Milan, and at present he holds the chair in advanced composition at the Accademia Nazionale of S. Cecilia in Rome. Since 1970 he has also taught advanced composition at the Chigi Academy in Siena. In addition to his compositional work, Donatoni is the author of numerous writings including Questo (1970), Antecedente X (1980), Il sigaro di Armando (1982), and In-oltre (1988).
Ludovico Einaudi was born in Turin on November 23, 1955. He took a diploma in composition at the Conservatorio G. Verdi in Milan with Azio Corghi, and continued his studies with Luciano Berio, with whom he has worked as assistant on various musical and theatrical projects. In 1982 he received a scholarship to the Tanglewood Festival.
His creative career began with several chamber and symphonic compositions, which were quickly performed by important international musical institutions including the Teatro alla Scalla, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Tanglewood Festival, IRCAM in Paris, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Settembre Musica, the UCLA Centre for Performing Arts, and the Budapest Music Festival.
Starting in the 1980’s, Einaudi began his journey in search of a freer language, capable of absorbing diverse musical cultures and influences, especially the immediacy, emotional change, and sonic impact of rock. In addition to purely concert music, he has written for the cinema, the theater, video, and dance.
Einaudi has recently created the Einaudi Electric Ensemble, a five-member group with a repertory of his music, in which the composer plays the piano.
Robert Erickson was born in1917 in Marquette, Michigan, where as a youth he played violin, piano, and flute. Drawn to composition in his teens, he found his principal teacher in Ernst Krenek, whom he met in Chicago in 1938. He followed Krenek to Hamline University in St. Paul, and worked with him until 1947, when he received his M.A. degree. Since then Erickson has taught at St. Catherine College (St. Paul), the San Francisco Conservatory, and since 1966, at the University of California at San Diego. Among his recent credits are several Yaddo Fellowships (1952, 1953, 1965), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1966), election as a Fellow of the Institute for Creative Arts of the University of California (1968), a commission from the National Endowment for the Arts (1976), and an award from The American Institute of Arts and Letters (1981). His most recent book is Sound Structure in Music (1975).
Erickson has composed for a wide variety of instrumental and vocal combinations, in addition to his work in electronic music. His concerns have included expanded notions of instrumental and vocal timbre, increasingly flexible means of rhythmic articulation, and improvisation within controlled limits. His most recent music has shown an interest in melody intricately embedded in timbre and rhythm through pocket and pocketlike formations, along with a dense web of mostly microtonal ornament.
Robert Erickson died in May of 1997.
Ge Gan-ru (b.1954), the first avant-garde composer in China, holds degrees in both violin and composition from the Shanghai Conservatory, where he was assistant professor of composition prior to coming to the United States in 1983. Ge studied composition with Chen Gang and Alexander Goehr, and was awarded a fellowship by the School of Fine Arts, Columbia University, where he received his doctorate while studying with Mario Davidovsky and Chou Wen-chung.
Ge Gan-ru has been commissioned and performed by numerous organizations including The Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Kronos Quartet, the Erik Hawkins Dance Company, Bang on a Can, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and Speculum Musicae. He works have been performed in such diverse venues as the Kennedy Center, The Kitchen, The Walker arts Center and the Civic Center in San Francisco. Ge's work in film includes the score for the feature film "The Great Wall (released 1986)" and "Adopted Son: The Death of Vincent Chin" which was selected for participation in the New Directions Film Festival in New York City and shown on PBS in 1988.
Ada Gentile: for information about this composer, see her web site.
Stefano Gervasoni was born in Bergamo, Italy in 1962. He studied at the Conservatorio G. Verdi in Milan and in 1988 was the recipient of a one-year fellowship to work at IRCAM in Paris. He has won several prizes including the G. Petrassi Competition for composition in Italy, as well as prizes in the Forum 91 in Montreal and the Mozart 1991 in Vienna. His works have been heard at such festivals as Gaudeamus Music Week (Amsterdam), Musik-Biennale (Berlin), Fifty Years of Italian Music (London), and Festival Wein Modern. He presently teaches composition at the Conservatory of Trento.
Lee Hyla was born in Niagara Falls, New York, and grew up in Greencastle, Indiana. He has written for numerous performers including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet (with Allen Ginsberg), Speculum Musicae, the Lydian String Quartet, Tim Berne, Rhonda Rider, Stephan Drury, and Mia Chung. He has received commissions from the Koussevitzky, Fromm, and Naumburg Foundations, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust Concert Artist's Guild, and two Meet the Composer/Reader's Digest Consortium commissions. He has also been the recipient of the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a Guggenheim fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Goddard Lieberson Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Rome Prize. His music has been recorded on C.R.I., Avant, New World, and Nonesuch. He currently lives in Boston where he teaches composition at the New England Conservatory of Music.
Born in Mexico City, Ana Lara attended the National Conservatory of Music where her teachers included Mario Lavista and Daniel Catan. She also studied at CENDIDEM with Federico Ibarra. Her postgraduate work was with Zbigniew Rudzinski and Wlodzimierz Kotonski at the Warsaw Academy of Music, thanks to a Mexican-Polish study grant. Subsequently, she attended summer courses in Italy, Germany and Poland. In 1989 Lara founded the Mexican Society of New Music, serving as its President for two years; and was a board member of the ISCM from 1990 to 1993. An avid writer, producer and promoter, she has collaborated in various musical magazines, and she produces a program at the University Radio (Radio UNAM) devoted to contemporary music. Her own compositions have been performed in Europe as well as in the USA, Venezuela and her native country. In 1990 she won the Mexican Ministry of Culture's grant for young creators and has recently been awarded the three-year grant for creators and the US/Canada/Mexico Creative Artists Residency Program Grant (1994-97). She was in residence with the National Symphony Orchestra from 1993-1994.
"KOAIA is the name of a Brazilian language which was supposed to be gone. They thought that the language had disappeared and they found out in a very small place that it was still spoken by a group of women who lived under the same roof. I found that very poetic and a wonderful idea. To have this language only spoken by these few women, and imagine the kinds of things they would say, because their vocabulary had to be a very feminine one. Then I thought it was wonderful to have a piece by that name. What I wanted to do is to explore the sound in itself, trying to get very different colors in very, very little amount of notes and to explore their harmonic spectrum in some ways. I also thought it was nice that at least for me now, it has a very important meaning and even if the language disappears, the name won't, for me." AL
Tania Leon was born in Havana, Cuba in 1943. She has lived in New York City since 1967. She has served as the first Music Director of the Dance Theater of Harlem and has worked closely over the years with such institutions as The New York Philharmonic (as Revson Composer Fellow and new music advisor), the American Composer's Orchestra (as advisor of the annual "Sonidos de las Americas" festival) and Meet the Composer, as Vice-President and advisor of the New Residencies Program. She is currently a Professor of Music at Brooklyn College.
Ms. Leon's opera, Scourge of Hyacinths, won the BMW Prize for Best Composition of the 1994 Munich Biennale for New Music Theater. Commissions include a consortium commission from four U.S orchestras in 1994 as well as commission from the Cincinnati Symphony and New York City's Town Hall.
As a conductor, Ms. Leon has appeared with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the National Symphony Orchestra of South Africa, the Beethovenhalle Orchester of Bonn and the Louisville Orchestra.
FOUR PIECES FOR VIOLONCELLO were written in memory of Ms. Leon's father. It is a reflective work, the first composition after his death. The cello evokes the image of his presence; the second movement is a prayer.
Zhou Long is a native of Beijing, China. He graduated from the Beijing Central conservatory of Music in 1983 and served as Composer-in-Residence with the China National Broadcasting Symphony. Zhou came to the United States in 1985 and received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University where he studied with Chou Wen-Chung, Mario Davidovsky and George Edwards. He is currently music director of Music from China, an ensemble that specializes in the performance of music on traditional Chinese instruments. Mr. Zhou's music often combines traditional Chinese instruments and compositional techniques, with Western musical styles and instruments.
Zhou's commissions include works for The New Music Consort, the Kronos Quartet, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Guggenheim Museum’s Works in Progress project, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, the China Central Ballet and the Berkshire Theater Festival. His numerous grants and prizes include a Koussevitzky Music Foundation commission Award, the Ensemblia Prize (Germany), d'Avery Prize (France) and the Rapaport Prize at Columbia University.
Bruno Maderna was born in Venice on April 21, 1920. Having taken a degree in composition at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome under the guidance of Alessandro Bustini (1940), he went on to pursue advanced studies in Venice with Gianfrancesco Malipiero (1942-43). For conducting, he attended the courses taught by Antonio Guarnieri (Siena, 1941) and Hermann Schechen (Venice, 1948).
From 1948 to 1952, Maderna taught at the Conservatory of Venice. In 1949, he took part for the first time in the Internationale Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik at Darmstadt, where he began to teach in 1956. In 1950 he conducted his first concerts abroad, in Paris and Munich. This marked the beginning of an incessant and labor-intensive career that saw him active in Germany, Sweden, Belgium, and Austria, as well as in Italy. In 1955, he collaborated with Luciano Berio in founding the RAI Studio of Musical Phonology in Milan, and from 1956-1960 he organized Incontri Musicali, a series of events aimed to spread knowledge and understanding of contemporary music. From 1961-66, he and Pierre Boulez were permanent directors of the Internationales Kranichsteiner Kammerensemble.
During the 1960’s, Maderna was invited to teach at the Rotterdam Conservatory, the Salzburg Mozarteum, and Darmstadt. In the 1970’s he was frequently invited to the United States where he conducted the Juilliard Ensemble and the symphonies of Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, New York, Cleveland, Washington, and Detroit. In 1971 he became permanent conductor of the RAI Symphony Orchestra of Milan.
Maderna remained active until only a few days before his death in Darmstadt on November 13, 1973.
Luigi Nono, a student of Gian Francesco Malipiero at the Conservatorio of Venice, continued his studies with Bruno Maderna and Herman Scherchen, and at the same time earned a degree in law. From 1950-59 he attended the Darmstadt FerienKrurse, and was present at the Darlington Summer School from 1959-61.
In 1955, Canto sospeso (for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra, based on texts from letters of members of the European Resistance movement who were condemned to death) was the first of his works to gain international recognition. His musical linguistics clearly define him as a major exponent of the post-Webern avant-garde, but his artistic personality is permeated with an intensely-felt political ideology, a factor which places him in a unique position in the postwar musical panorama.
In the 1960’s Nono devoted himself intensely to electronic and tape music creating many significant works for this genre. Since 1980, he has begun research and study at the Experimental Studio der Heinrich Strobel Stiftung des Sudwestfunks E.V. of Feiburg. In these years of intense research, a concept of sound and space that has always been present in Nono’s works has matured to the point where it completely upturns the formal logic which has traditionally accompanied musical composition. The use of live electronics, the computer, the study of spatial dynamics, the dividing of the microintervals down to a sixteenth of a tone, are all aspects of research that have as their objective the discovery of other paths, of unexpected aural experiences which at times fade out mysteriously towards the limit of audibility.
Steve Reich was born on October 3, 1936, in New York. He graduated with honors in Philosophy from Cornell University in 1957. From 1957-58, he studied composition with Hall Overton, and from 1958-1961 studied at the Juilliard School of Music with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti. He then received his M.A. in music in 1963 from Mills College in California, where he studied with Darius Milhaud and Luciano Berio.
During the summer of 1970, he studied drumming with a master drummer of the Ewe tribe at the institute for African Studies in Ghana. During the summer of 1973, he studied Balinese Gamelan Semar Pegulingan with a Balinese teacher at the American Society for Eastern Arts Summer Program at the University of Washington, and during 1976-77 he studied the traditional forms of cantillation of the Hebrew Scriptures in Jerusalem and New York. In 1966, Reich began the ensemble Steve Reich and Musicians which grew out of his convictions that composition and performance should be united. Starting with three musicians, the ensemble grew to eighteen members by 1976.
In 1974, Reich was awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and was an artist in residence in Berlin at the invitation of the D.A.A.D. In 1975, he received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, and in 1976, a second grant from the NEA. In 1978 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Kaija Saariaho studied initially at the Sibelius Academy in Finland with Paavo Heininen and then from 1981 to 1982 with Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg. In 1982 she also attended courses in computer music at IRCAM in Paris, where she has continued to live, and since that time the computer has become a fundamental element of her composing technique.
The hauntingly individual beauty of her music has already won her many awards and prizes including the Kranichstein Preis at Darmstadt (1986), the Prix Italia (1988), and Austrian Television’s Ars Electronicam (1989).
During the academic year 1988-89 she was invited by Brian Ferneyhough to hold a composition fellowship at the University of California at San Diego, and by Oliver Knussen to lecture at Tanglewood. In 1988 and 1989 she had the remarkable honor of having complete concert programs of her works performed in five different cities: London, Helsinki, Savolinna, Paris, and Los Angeles.
Her two large (and related) orchestral works Du Cristal and A la Fumee were premiered in 1990 and 1991 both in Helsinki and Los Angeles, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Salvatore Sciarrino was born in Palermo in 1947. He was a precocious musician and began composing at the age of 12. His principal composition teachers were Antonio Titone and Turi Belfiore. He has lived in Rome and Milan and now resides in Citta di Castello. He served as the artistic director of the Teatro Comunale in Bologna for three years and has taught at the conservatories of Milan, Perugia and Florence. Although Salvatore's name was initially associated with the concept of new sound matter, other important musical elements have emerged to create a highly original compositional style.
“With me music inhabits a threshold region. Like dreams, where something both exists and yet doesn't exist, and exists as something else as well. These are the sounds found close to the horizon of the senses, magnified by ancient silence through some submerged collapse of memory.” - SS