Luca Francesconi

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Luca Francesconi, composer



Luca Francesconi – Mambo
performed by Alfonso Alberti
go to the concert


Born in 1956, Luca Francesconi studied piano at the Conservatory of Milan and composition with Azio Corghi, Karlheinz Stockhausen (in Rome) and Luciano Berio (at Tanglewood). He also attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston studying jazz.
Between 1981 and 1984 he worked as an assistant to Berio.
In 1990 he founded Agon Acustica Informatica Musica in Milan, a center for music research and production using new technologies.
Among the many prizes and international awards he has received are: the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis (Darmstadt 1990); the Förderpreis der Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikstiftung (Munich 1994); and the Prix Italia for Ballata del rovescio del mondo, a radio opera with texts by Umberto Fiori (1994), Academie Chrles Cros.
Many important international festivals and orchestras have programmed concerts dedicated to his music. To date he has written over eighty works for a wide range of instrumental and vocal combinations, including also electronics (from solo instrument to large orchestra and from opera to multimedia), many of these being commissioned by international radio companies and other leading musical institutions.
He has written five radio-operas for RAI, the Italian RadioTelevision national company, and several operas for the stage, experimental locations and even open air, frequently making use of multimedia technologies, as in the case of the video-opera Striàz (with video makers ” Studio Azzuro “) and Lips, Eyes…Bang for actress/singer and ensemble with live audio and video transformations, commissioned by Nieuw Ensemble and STEIM Amsterdam.
A big portrait in the Venice Biennale 1993 definitely brings his fame back to his own country: Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam, Arditti and Ensemble Modern (with the newly commissioned Plot II ) gather forces in the same concert devoted to his music at La Fenice Theatre.
His electronic and vocal music includes: Etymo for soprano, chamber orchestra and electronics (from Baudelaire) commissioned by IRCAM ; four pieces for solo instruments with live electronics (Animus I for trombone, Animus II for viola – commissioned by IRCAM – PAD for electric guitar and Animus III for tuba, commissioned by ZKM and musikFabrik); Sirene/Gespenster: a heathen oratorio for four female choirs, percussion, brass and electronics produced by WDR, ASKO ensemble and IRCAM and performed in Witten Festival Cologne, ConcertGebouw Amsterdam , Chatelet in Paris ( 1997) and Oslo ULTIMA Festival.
His music for wind instruments includes: two quintets (Attesa and Accordo); an octet (Aria); an instrumental suite from Monteverdi’s Orfeo, commissioned by the Nederlandse Blazers Ensemble; and two large-scale pieces for five marching bands (Mittel and Fresco). A central focus of his production are works for large orchestra including: Wanderer, for La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti and Cobalt, Scarlet, commissioned by Mariss Jansons for by the Oslo Philharmonic and premiered under the direction of Marek Janowsky.
Both these works are regularly performed by major international orchestras like : Los Angeles Philharmonic, where it was perfomed four times under Roberto Abbado in the opening week of the Disney Hall, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Israeli Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Gothenborg Symphoniker, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, BBC Symphony, RAI Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony and others.
To date he has written four string quartets, performed all over the world by the Arditti Quartet, and two violin concertos, for Irvine Arditti.
His choral music includes: Terre del Rimorso for soloists, chorus and orchestra, commissioned by the French State, composed for the 2001 Festival Musica in Strasbourg and premiered by the SWR Symphony Orchestra and the Vokalensemble Stuttgart under the direction of Peter Eötvös, Let me Bleed for the New London Chamber Choir, Seashell for the Swedish Radio Choir.
In 2002 Francesconi premiered two further works for the theatre: Buffa Opera, commissioned and produced by the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, with the composer himself as conductor; and the opera Ballata (’96 -’99) on a libretto by Umberto Fiori (inspired by Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner), commissioned by the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, conducted by Kazushi Ono and with stage direction by Achim Freyer.
In the same year Ensemble intercontemporain performed a portrait-concert including the newly commissioned work Lontananza e ora, qui.
Rest “Luciano Berio in memoriam” for cello and orchestra was written in 2003. Commissioned by the RAI National Symphony Orchestra and written for the soloist Anssi Karttunen, it was premiered in 2004 under the direction of Jukka-Pekka Saraste.
In 2004 the Holland Festival commissioned Gesualdo Considered as a Murderer, an opera on a text by Vittorio Sermonti. It was directed by Giorgio Barberio Corsetti.
In 2005/6 Francesconi composed Kubrick’s Bone for cimbalom and ensemble, written for Luigi Gaggero, a Gloria for choir and orchestra and Etymo II for large orchestra, Body Electric for electric violin and two ensembles for Irvine Arditti; a concerto for trumpet, Hard Pace was written in 2007 and premiered in Rome by Håkan Hardenberger and the Santa Cecilia Orchestra under the direction of Tony Pappano. This work was commissioned by the Accademia S. Cecilia in co-production with the Zaterdag Matinée at the Concertgebouw, the Gothenborg Symphoniker, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and the MITO festival); Unexpected End of Formula for cello and ensemble, composed in 2008, was commissioned by musikFabrik and premiered in the big hall of WDR in Cologne: it is dedicated to Helmuth Lachenmann.
In 2008 the recording company Kairos’s new series “Sirenes” was inaugurated with a monographic CD by the composer realized in conjunction with IRCAM and Ensemble intercontemporain.
Sirènes for five choirs and orchestra, premiered in June 2009 at Festival Agora in Paris under Tabachnik; Time, Real and Imaginary for soprano and ensemble commissioned by the French State for Accroche Note was performed in September 2009 at the Musica Festival in Strasbourg, where Francesconi was honoured with the role of composer in residence, Attraverso for soprano and chamber Orchestra commissioned for the Monteverdi Celebrations was premiered in 2010 in Cremona and Milano by musikFabrik under Peter Rundel.
Luca Francesconi regularly collaborates with leading international interpreters and the world’s most prestigious orchestras and Opera Houses.
He is also extremely active as a conductor.
Music theatre and the relation with word, light and image has been always one of the main field of his interest and research.
He has written so far 9 operas of different kinds conceived with a wide variety of combinations, from traditional “italian” Opera Houses to multimedia, plus 5 radio-operas.
The opera Quartett (text of Heiner Muller from “Liasions Dangereuses”, libretto by the composer) commissioned by La Scala and WienerFestWochen in collaboration with IRCAM, was premiered in April 2011 with rave reviews and great public success, with Fura del Baus staging and Susanna Malkki conducting.
Quartett will be presented again in 2012/13 at the WienerFestwochen in Vienna, at the Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, at the Lille Opera, at La Cité de la Musique in Paris by Ensemble Intercontemporain, and at the Gulbenkian in Lisbon in 2014.
In September of the same 2011 his Opera/Oratorio Terra for seven soli, choir and orchestra has opened the season of the San Carlo Opera House in Naples, as a celebration of the 150th year of italian unification, at the presence of the President of the Repubblica Giorgio Napolitano.
For 25 years he has taught in Italian Conservatoires and held Masterclasses throughout the world ( Japan, USA, Canada and all over Europe, including Iceland)
He has been Guest Professor in Composition in Rotterdam ( 1990/91) and in Strasbourg ( 1995/96).
At the present he is Professor and Head of the Department of Composition at the Musikhögskolan ( Lund University ) in Malmö in Sweden.
Since February 2008 he is Artistic Director of Biennale Musica Festival in Venice.
He has also accepted the artistic direction of the Festival ULTIMA in Oslo.
From 2012 he is professor in residence at the Gulbenkian Foundation, taking over Emanuel Nunes position. In the same year he is professor in residence and featured composer at the new Academie Achantes at IRCAM in Paris.
In 2013 he is composer in residence at the Casa de Musica of Porto where new commissions and several portraits of his music will be performed including chamber, symphonic and choral works.
Commissions in the near future include, among others, HerzStuck for the NeuesVokalSolisten in Stuttgart on a text by Heiner Muller, Atopia Etude for choir and orchestra commissioned by Ramon Encinar for the Orchestra de la Comunidad de Madrid, a Piano Concerto commissioned for Nicolas Hodges by MITO Festival ( Milano and Torino), Hessischer Rundfunk Frankfurt and Casa de Musica Oporto, a Violin Concerto for Leila Joesefowitz at BBC Proms in coproduction with Swedish Radio Symphony, RAI Orchestra and Orquestre Philarmonique de Radio France and a Concerto for Two Pianos for the Goetz-Schumaker duo, commissioned by the WestDeutscheRundfunk of Cologne for 2014.
His music is published by RICORDI-Universal Music.


One Response to “Luca Francesconi”

  1. Mark says:

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.

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