Ciro Longobardi

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Ciro Longobardi, Pianist

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DISCOGRAPHY:

Ciro Longobardi – Charles Edward Ives (opere per pianoforte) VOL.1
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IVAN FEDELE – Integrale delle opere per pianoforte solo
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CONTACTS:

Site: www.cirolongobardi.com
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BIOGRAPHY:

For about fifteen years the pianist Ciro Longobardi has dedicated himself to studying and disseminating modern and contemporary music with its specific languages. Filled with an insatiable curiosity for making music in all its forms, he pursues a career as soloist and chamber music performer, as well as in multimedial projects and improvisation.
He studied the piano with Carlo Alessandro Lapegna, going on to win a European Community scholarship to attend the APM School in Saluzzo, where he studied piano with Alexander Lonquich and chamber music with Franco Gulli, Maurice Bourgue and Franco Rossi. From 1994 to 1996 he attended masterclasses held by Bernhard Wambach in Darmstadt and Parma.
His first successes came in 1994, when he was a finalist and prize winner as best pianist at the International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in Rotterdam, and won the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis at the 37th Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt. Since then he has performed for many institutions, including Traiettorie Festival Parma (Teatro Farnese), Milano Musica Festival, Venice Biennale, Ravello International Festival, Ravenna Festival, Rai Nuova Musica Turin, Giovine Orchestra Genovese, Festival Pontino, Nuova Consonanza and Istituzione Universitaria dei Concerti Rome, Accademia Filarmonica Romana, Saarländischer Rundfunk Saarbrücken, Ferienkurse Darmstadt, Festival Synthése Bourges, Festival Manca Nice, Gaudeamus Foundation Amsterdam (Muziekgebouw), ZKM Karlsruhe, Peter B.Lewis Theatre (Guggenheim Museum) New York, Salzburg Festival, as a soloist, a chamber musician and a member of Dissonanzen (Naples) and Algoritmo (Rome).
He regularly works with some of the leading Italian composers. Among them Ivan Fedele, whose complete piano works Longobardi performed and recorded, and Salvatore Sciarrino, with whom he recorded a double portrait Sciarrino/Ravel published by Stradivarius.  Furthermore, he recorded for Mode, RAI Trade, Neos, Tactus.  He has also had performances recorded and broadcast by RAI-Radiotre, Dutch Radio, Hessischer Rundfunk, Saarlandischer Rundfunk, Croatian Radio, Austrian Radio.
His performances have been presented or reviewed by Amadeus, La Repubblica, L’Unità, Il Manifesto, Alias/Il Manifesto, Le Monde de la Musique, Suonare News, Il Giornale della Musica, The Classic Voice, Fanfare Magazine, Musicweb International, Musical Pointers, Bayerischer Rundfunk online.
He currently teaches at the Conservatorio G. Martucci, Salerno.
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REVIEW:

Impressive accounts of masterly works of early and late 20 C. As clean and convincing a recorded performance of Gaspard as you’ll find amongst the many rivals; the set of Sciarrino Nocturnes is certainly worth getting to know amongst this elusive composer’s oeuvres….

Peter Grahame Woolf – Musical Pointers
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…Ciro Longobardi plays Gaspard, a score I consider to be over played these days, with a refreshing lack of sentimentality and superb clarity. By eschewing theatrics (via taut rhythm and very clean, lightly pedaled texture), he brings us closer to the essence of the score…

Peter Burwasser – Fanfare Magazine – Jan/Feb 2010
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…Longobardi keeps Sciarrino’s textures impressively fluid, while clearly demarcating his structural joins and fold-ins…….Again, Longobardi is marvellous, as he plays the wild dynamic extremes Sciarrìno intended and somehow creates the illusion that his written-out structures are, in fact, spontaneous and open-ended. He also delivers a muscular, dramatic Gaspard that unashamedly plays to the house.

Philip Clark – International Piano – Nov/Dec 2009
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No romantic suggestion and not even the sensitive involvement of bartokian music of the night in this disc of works by Sciarrino emblematically entitled Nuit, comprising besides the six Nocturnes, the last two entitled cruel by the author, De la Nuit, a more famous page going back to 1971, bloomed by the singular reflection on the Ravelian tryptic Gaspard de la Nuit….A very different night, therefore, a magical phantasmagoria of sonorous gestures….Absolutely personal codes which express in a unique writing, in a pianism of extreme difficulty, for the hyperbolic speeds expected from the author but also for the fineness and mobility of the dynamic range; very few, in effects, the pianists that have carried to term positively this singular challenge (between these Pollini who premiered the V Sonata in Salzburg) which in this disc, released by Stradivarius, is happily overcame by such an interpreter as Ciro Longobardi….Prodigious hands – as also attests the performance of Gaspard de la Nuit placed side by side meaningfully to the pages of Sciarrino – and musical intelligence of rare ductility that seems to translate with naturalness the fires of this restless nocturnal imagination.

Gian Paolo Minardi – La Gazzetta di Parma – Agoust 3rd, 2009
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The Algoritmo Ensemble conducted by Marco Angius sees to dominate Ciro Longobardi’s piano in an ” evening at Freud’s house”…..

Annamaria Pellegrini – Amadeus – April 2009
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Another speeding up evening… thanks to the presence of three performers of extraordinary bravura (Mario Caroli, Roberta Gottardi, Ciro Longobardi, ndr), never dissociated from that musical understanding poked from the roughness peculiar to the contemporary language….To open it has been Ciro Longobardi….in the proposal of Stockhausen’s ” Klavierstuck IX”, a piece often made light of, therefore made banal because of that interminable sequence of a beaten chord, which the listener receives like a fist in the stomach; on the contrary, Longobardi has left some to mean the sense persecuted from the composer, in the comparison between the materiality of the sound and the infinitesimal relationships with the structures, through an articulation of intense breath.

Gian Paolo Minardi – La Gazzetta di Parma -September 22nd, 2008
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Ivan Fedele’s music, under the hands of Ciro Longobardi, seemed as algid and powerful as that of Cecil Taylor, above all Cadenze and Etudes Australes (composed after 2001), even if with inverse procedures to those of the black American pianist……

Giampiero Cane – Il Manifesto -June 25th, 2008
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Longobardi’s recording of the “Concord” is powerful, dynamic, and (most of all) dramatic–a “hang-on-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” interpretation. If Cecil Taylor were to play Ives, I think he might sound something like Longobardi. Many pianists capture the improvisatory qualities of the “Concord” in its more meditative moments, but Longobardi finds that same spontaneous, creation-in-the-moment quality throughout, even when he is pounding away on the keyboard, kicking up a storm. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this aspect of the music played so convincingly. Hamelin’s first recording is equally massive, equally attuned to rhythm. But Longobardi’s is “jazzier”–as in contemporary jazz, even avant-garde jazz. And it still sounds very idiomatic, very “Ivesian” to me. This recording is right up there with the very best of them. And the other short works on the disc are fabulous too. I should note that there’s no flute (or viola) here. But never mind. This is essential listening.

Scott Mortensen – Charles Edward Ives – A Survey of Recordings – 2006
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Longobardi’s view of Ives is a balanced one. He is as aware of the Romantic side as of the modernist, and delicacy is frequently present. All of this can be heard in the ‘Emerson’ movement of the Second Sonata. The fact that not only does he work well towards a climax, but also that he doesn’t bang when he gets there; more tempting in Ives than in most, I would suspect! Because of all this, the end of ‘Emerson’ hangs magically in the air. Interestingly, parts of ‘Hawthorne’ sound very close to Nancarrow, enabling the long chorale around five minutes in to have a huge emotive effect, simultaneously calming and disconcerting. This movement is an emotional roller-coaster because of Ives’ daring juxtapositions of material, and it is superbly realised by Longobardi. If there is a distinct homely feel to ‘The Alcotts’ – and very lovely it is – it is the peaceful, hypnotic ‘Thoreau’ that will surely linger long in the memory. The enjoyment of the Sonata is enhanced, as are all the works on this lovely disc, by the superb piano recording, clear and accurate. The famous Three-Page Sonata emphasises the work’s contrasts. Slow passages can be like cut-crystal; yet the March verges on the outrageous; as, indeed, is correct. The lovely end is wonderfully realised. Nice to have the Waltz-Rondo of 1911. If the title implies a certain duality, Ives’ writing positively implies schizophrenia! Similarly, Longobardi revels in the quirky Varied Air and Variations, with its Webernesque twists. He clearly enjoys every second – and so should we. A very interesting, and well-presented disc. The booklet notes are at times a trifle clumsily translated from the Italian, but that should not be enough to deter anyone. I hope to hear more from Ciro Longobardi.

Colin Clarke – Musicweb International – 2006
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An Italian at the keyboard for the complete piano works of Charles Ives is a first in Italy for a composer who is practically unknown here, and undoubtedly reason to celebrate. All the more so because Ciro Longobardi — founder of Ensemble Dissonanzen, Napoli — proves himself to be an interpreter endowed with great stylistic propriety and instrumental mastery. He can count on a natural predisposition for the virtuosity of modern music, involving a facility (well borne out by the recording, it must be said) for respecting the original features of Ives’s piano writing without needing to take shortcuts: playing chordal blocks and clusters, for example, in such a way as always to allow an interesting colour to emerge, or again hermetic thematic figures, undercurrents and cross-currents (never merely abstract) of tonal argumentation, all the splenetic security and provocatory fantasy with which Ives plunges into and takes flight from the Romantic tradition. Longobardi is at his most commanding in the Concord, Mass. (which is in fact relatively accessible, being the most refined and coherent composition of all the oeuvre, in spite of the characteristic zones of inertia) but he also manages to confer an expressive clarity on the other pieces, notably the ornate and ostentatious intensity of the Three-Page Sonata and the eccentricity, which is anything but ingenuous, he reveals in the cock-eyed Waltz-Rondo.

Angelo Foletto – Suonare News – March 2006
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The Sonata No. 2 Concord, the Three-page, the Waltz-Rondo and the Varied Air and Variations are the pieces Longobardi interprets in this excellent record……. He renders this music in all its effervescent dynamism and authenticity, with a fine hard touch, without a trace of sentimentalism, in a scrupulous recording. Among the pieces on offer, the most famous is the Concord, lasting some 45 minutes, with the fantastic second movement “Hawthorne” and the meditative stroll of “Thoreau” with which the Sonata comes to an end. Here however we wish to highlight the unrelenting intensity with which in Varied Air and Variations the pianist alternates the intellectual tension of the abstraction behind the recurrent clockwork-like pedal and the coul‚es of material constantly erupting in the thematic Aria, truly a sublime moment of the mature lves.

Giampiero Cane – Alias/Il Manifesto -February 11th, 2006
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…moments of stupefying expressive power, even more in Longobardi’s extraordinarily clear and technically solid interpretation…

Massimo Rolando Zegna – Amadeus – June 2006
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A recent contribution to the body of recordings of Ives’s piano music comes from Italian pianist Ciro Longobardi, a dedicated and distinguished interpreter of Ives’s music and champion of 20th- century and contemporary music. In essence, Longobardi’s recording displays a respectful devotion to Ives, and an integration and identification with his music that is achieved through many years of exposure and contemplation, aided by a powerful and extensive array of pianistic capabilities.

Which “Ives“ comes through in Longobari’s interpretation? Longobardi seems to identify with the “Ives“ of Puritan Austerity – where expressions of divinity and transcendence are displayed through a sense of private, prudent and disciplined devotion. Longobardi’s sculpts Ives’s magnum opus, “Sonata no. 2, Concord Mass. 1840-60“ into a work with a classical dramaturgical sense of inevitability, a substantial achievement for a piece that can often seem unwieldy, chaotic and fractious in other hands. In the first movement of the sonata (“Emerson“), Longobardi plots the dramatic trajectory of the piece carefully, reserving the major climax for the golden mean. He avoids excessive opulence, and hysteric exuberance.

Many may find his interpretation a bit restrained, though through this restraint in individual sections of the movement he is able to build an overriding framework that gives the piece the sense of a unified totality. The second movement, “Hawthorne“, is playful and light-hearted. He avoids an affectation and fussiness that many interpreters are prone to, and presents the marches, ragtime-licks, and Presbyterian hymns in a straightforward and energetic way. His third movement, “the Alcotts“ is similar to Ives’s own recording. The music is presented in a strikingly (and perhaps shockingly) simple way, absolutely without pretense or pompousness. His “Thoreau“ delves into the personal nature of Ives’s commitment to Thoreau’s writings, concentrating perhaps more on the role that Thoreau played in Ives’s life after the premature and devastating death of his father, than on a musical translation of transcendental thought, or an onomatopoeic depiction of the natural environment at Walden Pond. Longobardi (like his predecessor John Kirkpatrick- who worked extensively with Ives and premiered the Concord Sonata) decided to leave out the optional flute part, and instead uses his exceptional ability in voicing to conjure up the image of Thoreau playing his flute over Walden Pond at sunset. Also on this recording are excellent interpretations of Ives’s “Three-Page Sonata“, “Waltz-Rondo“ and “Varied Air and Variation“.

Heather O’Donnell – Musical Pointers – 2006
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A work which makes outstanding demands on the performer, the Concord Sonata by Charles Ives had in Ciro Longobardi an interpreter of remarkable quality for his capacity to dominate the almost fifty minutes of impetuous, overwhelming music without ever losing the thread of the poetic idea which informs all this turbulent material… … interpretative mastery which was then confirmed…in the magnificent Last Pieces by Morton Feldman… …. Longobardi was a truly intense medium for such a receptive, poetical recreation.

Gian Paolo Minardi – La Gazzetta di Parma – October 7th, 2002
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For example, how better to savour the still vital Romanticism of Berg’s Sonata opus 1 than to go on to listen to the Wagnerian Liebestod in Liszt’s essential and visionary paraphrase dating from forty years earlier? In Longobardi’s impassioned performance ….. the two worlds converged with exemplary clarity and poignancy.

Angelo Foletto – La Repubblica Milano – March 13th, 2003
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Messiaen’s music was played with brilliant nonchalance by Ciro Longobardi, a pianist who pays particular attention to the composers of the 20th century.

Giampiero Cane – Il Manifesto – March 16th, 2004
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Ciro Longobardi…..rendered them (excerpts from Messiaen’s Vingt Regards) with the gentle, limpid force and excellent introspection concerning timbre and emotions which characterise him.

Michele Mannucci – Il Manifesto – January 8th, 2003
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On this evening Ciro Longobardi largely stole the show, although he remained as discreet as he was competent, above all when engaged in the delicate task of accompanying …..In the same way, we discovered in the pieces for pianoforte solo a pianist who is highly attentive to the overall effect of each work, performing in particular the music of Satie and Faur‚ with great sobriety.

Massimo Lo Iacono – Roma – May 20th, 2002
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…….a pianist of linear precision ……..

Alessandro Rigolli – La Gazzetta di Parma – September 26th, 2003
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…..Ciro Longobardi’s masterful control of the instrument.

Alessandro Mastropietro – Il Giornale della Musica – December 2003
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