Riccardo Piacentini

RICCARDO PIACENTINI was born in Moncalieri (Turin, Italy) on 3rd July 1958. At the age of twenty-two he obtained his diplomas in Composition and Piano and then, at the Turin University, he graduated with top marks in History of Music with a thesis on Goffredo Petrassi. Other diploma in Choral Music and Choir Direction. Pupil of Carlo Pinelli (Ghedini’s pupil) and Roberto Cognazzo at the Turin Conservatory (1974/80), as well as of Giorgio Pestelli, Paolo Gallarati and Enzo Restagno, he followed perfection courses and seminars with Franco Donatoni (1984/87, Accademia Chigiana in Siena and Perosi International Academy in Biella), Sylvano Bussotti, György Ligeti, Ennio Morricone, André Richard (as grantee De Sono), Karlheinz Stockhausen. In 1988 he took part with performances of his works in the “Internationalen Ferienkurse für neue Musik” in Darmstadt. Piacentini has been a prize-winner at international competitions and selections, including Presteigne International Festival in Wales, where he represented Italy in 1992 with Ti i for violin and harp, ICONS in Turin (first international price with For four for string quartet), Nuove Sincronie in Milan (Amariamori for G flute), Mario Zafred and Franco Evangelisti in Rome (Keir for orchestra and again For four), and “Accademia Musicale Chigiana” in Siena with the cooperation of Radio France and “Conservatoire Superieur de Musique de Paris” (… et coetera for ten players).

His music is regularly performed in prestigious concert halls and festivals with alluring reviews. In February 1997 he was invited, with Giacomo Manzoni, to appear as a guest composer at the Festival of Italian Contemporary Music in Vancouver, where his Spiritual Drama in one act and three scenes Mal’akhim gave its first performance and where he took seminars on his own music at the Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Academy of Music. Many concerts and seminars on his music in Institutions such as: Albuquerque – University of New Mexico (Composers’ Symposium 2008), Algeri – Auditorium de la Radio Algerienne, Almaty – Conservatory, Arequipa – Universidad Catolica San Paolo, Bangkok – Arts and Culture Centre, Baku – Uzeyir Hacibeyov International Music Festival, Baltimore – University of Maryland in Baltimore County (UMBC), Basel – Academy, Belgrade – ArtLink Festival, Beijing – Central Conservatory e Beijing Modern Music Festival, Berkeley – University of California, Berlin – Musik-Biennale and Unerhörte Musik at BKA Theater, Bowling Green State Universtity, Brno – Janacek Academy, Budapest – Budapest Spring Festival at Urania National Theater, Buenos Aires – Colon Theater and Centro Cultural San Martin, Canton – XingHai Concert Hall, Darmstadt – Orangerie, Graz – University, Haverford College, Helsinki – Sibelius Academy, Hong Kong – Academy for Performing Arts, Houston – Four Oaks Auditorium, Jakarta – Arts Academy and Pelita Harapan University, Kiev – National Taras Shevchenko University, Köln – Neue Musik Köln – Festival all’Italiana, Krakow – Main Concert Hall and Florianka Saal in Music Academy, Lima – Pirandello Theater, London – Festival Roussel, Madrid – Centro Cultural Buena Vista and Palacio Abrantes, Malta – La Valletta Hall, Marseille – Theatre National, Melbourne – Xavier College, Chapel off Chapel and Federation Hall, Milan I Pomeriggi Musicali at the Teatro Dal Verme, Moscow Conservatory, Münich – Gasteig, New England University (Australia), New York – Mannes College and Modern Works, Paris – Conservatoire National Superieur and Radio-France, Portland State University (Oregon), Riga – Latvia University Theater, Rio de Janeiro – Escola de Musica – Conservatorium, Roma – Santa Cecilia Academy, Festival Nuovi Spazi Musicali, Musica d’oggi and Nuova Consonanza, Rosario – Festival Nuevas Partituras, Rutgers State University of New Jersey, Seoul – Joong Ang University, San Paolo – Circolo Italiano, Shenyang – Liaoning Grang Theater and Conservatory, Singapore – Jubilee Hall and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, St. Francisco – Berkeley University of California, Stanford University and IIC, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Petersburg – Composers’ Union, Czar Village and Conservatorium, Stanford University, Sidney – Conservatory, Tashkent – 3rd and 4th International Festival of New Music, Torino – Settembre Musica and Festival MI.TO, Toronto – SoundaXis Festival at Music Gallery and Bata Shoe Museum, Ulaan Baatar – Opera-Ballet Theater, Vancouver Music Academy and Pyatt Hall of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vilnius – University Theater, Washington – Levine School of Music, Waterloo – Wilfried Laurier University, Wien – Klangforum and Creatives Centrum, etc. In December ’99 “Mal’akhim” was represented again in Turin, in the Metropolitan Cathedral with the staging by Teatro Regio and the whole national RAI broadcast. In October 2000 the same opera gave another performance for the International Celebration for the Holy Shroud. In February ‘99 his show for children 7×7+7 was represented at the Santa Cecilia National Academy in Rome and, two months later, at the Ilkhom Theater in Uzbekistan. Always in ‘99 Piacentini composed Musiche dell’aurora (Dawn musics), recorded on two CDs like enviromental music for the 8th Biennial International of Photography in Turin, first official example of “foto-musica con foto-suoni“© (“foto-musica con foto-suoni”), followed by Arie condizionate (Air conditioning) with original texts by Sandro Cappelletto on a cd for the 9th Biennial International of Photography (2001) and, again on Cappelletto’s texts, by “Sine nomine” for the commemoration of Shoa’ at Carlo Felice Theater in Genua (2002), Treni persi (Lost trains, 2003) for the Train Museum in Bussoleno, Mina miniera mia (Mine my mine, 2004) for Traversella mines and Musiche della Reggia di Venaria Reale (Music for the Castle in Venaria Reale, 2005).

DISCOVER THE PHOTO-MUSIC PROJECT®

The "photo-music" is music that listens to the image in all its aspects. It is music of the image in the image, with the sounds of the context that are a living and integral part of it.

His scores have been published by Curci, Edipan, Agenda, Sconfinarte and Rugginenti. The Curci Editions pressed his text Armonia tonale [Tonal Harmony] too, for the studies of Composition in Conservatory, and, in 2011, I suoni delle cose [The sounds of things] – Poetica del foto-suono tra Filosofia, E(ste)tica e Musica presented at MiTo Festival in Turin, DMS in Bologna, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome and the Italian Cultural Institute in Belgrade, New York, Los Angeles and Warsaw. He has made CDs and recordings for Radio-France, RAI, RSI, Radio Nazionale Uzbeca, Radio Vaticana and for the labels Curci, Datum-Stradivarius, DDT, Edipan, Happy New Ears, Nuova Era, Rainbow, Rivoalto, Steirischer Tonküstler Bund, Stradivarius, Urania Records.

As pianist he works regularly in partnership with Tiziana Scandaletti, soprano, with whom in ‘97 he founded the Duo Alterno (tours in Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kazakistan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Mongolia, Norway, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailandia, United Kingdom, USA, Uzbekistan, Venezuela) and made first recording of Giacomo Manzoni’s “Du Dunkelheit” and of the whole sacred works for voice and piano by Giorgio Federico Ghedini. Other monographic CDs on lyrics by Ghedini (Canti e strambotti), Alfredo Casella, Franco Alfano and Francesco Paolo Tosti). For Stradivarius label, La voce contemporanea in Italia – 1st CD, 2nd CD, 3rd CD, 4th CD, 5rd CD, 6th CD and La voce crepuscolare – Notturni e serenate del ‘900. For Urania Records, Tosti 1916. The last Songs on original Erard piano 1904.

He is also the founder and director of the Rive-Gauche Concerti in Turin and professor of Composition at the Milan Conservatory.

Some reviews about Riccardo Piacentini

La Stampa, october 31st 2018
“La musica contemporanea può essere divertente e a dimostrarlo arriva ‘Musiche in Mostra’, la rassegna di Rive-Gauche [...] ‘Portiamo la contemporanea in luoghi alternativi, tendenzialmente non nelle sale da concerto ma in musei, antichi palazzi e spazi inconsueti – spiega Riccardo Piacentini, presidente dell’associazione, compositore e pianista. L’idea è di farla arrivare in ambienti che permettano delle interazioni, perché ormai siamo giunti a un momento in cui si sente la necessità di uscire dai vincoli accademici, di liberarsi da un’impostazione un pochino rigida che questo genere porta con sé’. Largo quindi alla fantasia e alla sperimentazione per sfatare i luoghi comuni legati alla contemporanea, come quello che sia inaccessibile, che per ascoltarla ci sia bisogno di una preparazione particolare e che sia caratterizzata da suoni striduli e magari pure fastidiosi.” (Franca Cassine)
American Record Guide, july-august 2018: Tosti Last Songs
“[...] Tiziana Scandaletti's pleasant, a good match for these attractive, melodic songs [...] Her diction is also excellent. She is a native Italian and enunciates the double consonants clearly and is sensitive to the texts. Piacentini offers lovely accompaniments; his sensual handling of the Puccini waltz had me singing along [...] If you're a Tosti collector, you might want this.” (Reynolds)
MusicVoice, june 2018: When Tosti knocked on the door of modernity
“[...] a couple of artists who has made a name internationally in the panorama of vocal chamber music of the twentieth century and above all of contemporaneity and that represents a precise point of reference for this type of repertoire [...] The recording made by the Duo Alterno deserves to be examined for its inherent and stimulating peculiarities. First of all, we have to say about the choice of the songs presented by the two interpreters, that are works which almost all belong to the last period of the Abruzzese period [...]
Suonare News, may 2018: A voice actress for the last Tosti
“It could only be the Duo Alterno, who for decades have been passionate witnesses through concerts and cd recordings about the twentieth century Italian chamber music, to give voice to the last Tosti. By placing him not among the melodramatic 19th century lounge followers [...] Tiziana Scandaletti's acting voice is ideal, as well as it works with particular sound suggestion that the line of the piano theatrically supported by Piacentini has the antique voice of a nineteenth-century piano, an Erard of 1904.” (Angelo Foletto)
Chair of Department of Music, UMBC University of Maryland, Baltimore County,
april 23rd 2018
“Dear Tiziana and Riccardo [...] it was an absolute pleasure to welcome you to UMBC, and to hear your wonderful performance! The students were very intrigued and inspired by all that you presented, and I had many discussions with them about the value in making a performance both beautiful and surprising!” (Linda Dusman)
Quotidiano Nazionale, april 15th 2018: Listening to the beauty. Verses by the Vate and notes by Tosti, a true Consolation
“A recent CD Urania Records (2017) contains lyrics by Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846-1916) on verses by Gabriele d'Annunzio (1863-1938). The interpreters are the Duo Alterno, soprano and piano, so meritorious in the diffusion of the music of our twentieth century [...] the CD offers the poem 'Consolazione' (1916), 17 quatrains of endeasyllables taken from the 'Paradisiac Poem' [...] A very strong bass note and a prelude introduce the initial exhortation, 'do not cry anymore'. A fervid murmur envelops 'Dreams, dreams, my dear soul!'; bare, empty piano chords evoke the silence of an instrument dumb from years [...]” (Giuseppina La Face)
Classicaonline, march 2018: The late Songs for soprano and piano. Duo Alterno. 1 CD Urania Records LDV14033
[...] Piacentini, who chose a 1904 Erard piano not causally, giving them the elegance and essentiality that make these small pages 'album sheets' of uncommon quality, so deprived of any sentimental rhetoric often stuck by a deformed vision of late nineteenth-century sensibility. Complete this excellent program the interesting experiment, characteristic of the Duo, on the research 'photo-music with photo-sounds', where the 'soundscape' of Ortona, the birthplace of Tosti is portrayed: the artists have 'captured' among the houses of the time the fountains and the cobblestones that still smell of the past era, the 'acoustic context that, merged in more recent sounds, even today resists', presenting it in such genuine dress and, therefore, placed in counterpoint with one of the rare duets vocal of the author's production, 'Aimez, quand on vous aime!', obtaining an interesting and original result that closes in an unusual way a program no doubt uncommon for those who superficially liquidate Francesco Paolo Tosti as author of ‘lounge songs’.” (Bruno Belli)
Il Giornale di Voghera, january 29th 2018: Success of the first concert of Alia Musica. A journey to the “isle that does not exist”
“There are valid musicians as teachers, but not as composers or performers. There are those who perform well in the recording studio and live concert, and those who give the best only in front of the audience. There are good interpreters who are little looking and studying, and scholars who neglect the voice or the instrument. There are singers who have breath and not taste, or taste and breathless [...] The miracle I had Sunday afternoon at the Historical Museum, in the 'twilight concert' of the Duo Alterno dedicated to the Shoah: the first of the concerts of the new review of Alia Musica. Tiziana Scandaletti [... and] Riccardo Piacentini [...] have held concerts in all five continents, recorded about twenty CDs, deepened - for records and for concerts - music and composers known and less known, have experimented novelties like the 'fotosuoni' and moreover they are a nice couple.
Musica, december 2016 - january 2017: The Italian contemporary voice vol. 6
“We do not know if this is their last CD dedicated to the Italian contemporary voice, but it is sure we can make a balance of this project, developed over a decade. The recorded pieces belong to the last 60 years, but they go also back to the watershed at the end of the Second World War, proposing for instance works of Petrassi and Scelsi too. [...] Scandaletti’s voice stands out compared to the recorded part, with excerpts by the ‘Concert’ [...] to the Duo Alterno we have to recognize not only interpretation skills, but also high creative qualities in catching the sense of signs and building, with the composer, the true final piece. Piacentini’s piano has a tinny sound; Scandaletti shows remarkable technical skills and a pretty wide range: it is impressive to listen to a singer (se the final pitches in Guarnieri and Landini) who is so able in performing long and very high notes keeping a slight dynamic, a sort of Giotto’s circle in music field.” (Gabriele Moroni)
Amadeus, january 2016: The art of singing (and playing) reciting
“[...] in the foyer of Teatro Verdi in Padua [...] it was held the concert ‘Il teatro in una stanza’ [The theater in a room]. The concert started with a brief presentation by Piacentini on the evening, an idea that was crucial for better understanding the program. Then Berio’s 'Four popular songs' was performed, an impressive beginning to show the remarkable and powerful voice of Scandaletti and the wonderful technique of Piacentini, as well as making immediately clear the harmony between the two musicians [...] Heart of the program was the selection by ‘Epitaffi sparsi’ [Scattered Epitaphs] of Morricone, in a version with preludes and postludes dedicated by the author to the same Duo Alterno. Besides the advantage of showing the not film side of the very famous composer, this piece had also the task of introducing the concept of acting theater inside the concert, between declamations of the pianist and stage movements of the singer, not last the climb over the piano in the eighth ‘Epitaph’. This concept then was taken to extreme levels by Ada Gentile’s ‘How Betty Boop spends her daytime’, written in 2006 and dedicated to the duo [...] At the end of the program there were the ‘Four songs on ancient Neapolitan texts’ of Giorgio Federico Ghedini [...] that again confirmed the strong technique and precise sound research of the two performers.” (Alessandro Tommasi)
The Jakarta Post, October 18th 2015: Il Duo Alterno: Italian era intimates Asia
“[...] The contemporary composition ‘À la vie’, by Riccardo Piacentini and sung by Tiziana Scandaletti under the name Il Duo Alterno, pivoted between 100 years of essences captured, with ‘I Sonetti delle fate’ by Gian Francesco Malipiero and ‘L’adieu à la vie’ by Alfredo Casella, becoming nexus in explaining a world so distant in outlook as 1915 Italy. [...] Present were diplomats including Russians, Spaniards and Indonesians ready to be infused with the cultural exchange marking a historical moment. Each person in Il Duo Alterno was acknowledged by their command of vocal chamber music, a form of intimacy in song different to opera, which, sung Scandaletti, has the heights of a soprano with the aesthetic of confided storytelling. [...] To the ears and hearts of Piacentini [...] and Scandaletti, an opera-trained soprano [...] the nuances of different experiences in Italy can be traced through compositions. [...] Texts from Rabindranath Tagore, who won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature, complimented the pieces, alongide Rilke and Gabriele D’Annunzio. Expressing intensities on love, war and death a century ago by uncovering mysticism with the ecstasies of poetry, it was an eye-opener, brilliantly placed by Il Duo Alterno, on how the world changed. As text over Piacentini’s video projections and his coined ‘foto-suoni’ manifested those responses to war [...] ‘human sound for human people’ [...] as Italy’s best fly in and exchange ideas on many historical and modern interpretations.” (Angus Mitchell)
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