My current roles are Associate Principal and Professor of Music and Technology at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University in the UK. I read architecture and art history in Rome while studying music composition with Edgar Alandia, later completing my studies with Azio Corghi at Conservatorio ‘G. Verdi’ in Milan. I attended summer courses and master classes with Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter and George Benjamin, and the 1-year Advanced Training Course for Young Composers of the Toscanini Academy in Parma, directed by Corghi. Of lasting influence were a series of journeys to remote areas of Colombia to record music and sounds of traditional Indian and mestizo communities.
In a career that spans over 25 years I have worked as a composer, performer, music technologist, researcher and educator in Italy and the UK. In 1994 I began an extended collaboration with Luciano Berio, and two years later I was invited to join Tempo Reale, the Florence-based research centre for new technologies applied to music founded by Berio. I worked there as composer, teacher, performer and artistic coordinator. From 1997 to 1999 I was in charge of the music productions of Tempo Reale, and I took part in the realisation of Berio’s works with electronics, including Ofanim (Carnegie Hall 1997 and Schleswig-Holstein Festival 1998), Outis (La Scala, Milan, 1996) and Cronaca del Luogo (Salzburg Festival 1999). In 2000 I was invited by AGON, the Milan research and production centre, to work on interactive installations (Intercos at Bologna’s COSMOPROF) and educational projects (Suoni in Corso). In more recent years I have been responsible for live electronics and sound design in a number of high profile performances with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (for Julian Anderson’s Book of Hours in 2007), Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Athelas Sinfonietta and Den Nye Opera in Bergen (for Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin in 2008).
My music has been performed in Italy and abroad: Milano Musica, Nuova Consonanza Festival in Rome, Novecentomusica in Florence, Music Xtra Festival in the UK. Gabriele Cassone, the renowned trumpet player, commissioned in 1997 Antidotes: Red-earth, for natural trumpet and live electronics. In 1998 a CIDIM commission (Italian National Music Committee), and a joint production of Lugo’s Rossini Theatre, Parma’s Theatre and Toscanini Foundation brought to the stage Magma or the see-through wilderness, my opera on a text by Sebastian Schloessingk for actors, singers, orchestra and live electronics. More recent works include Touch, for piano and live electronics, river teach me, for soprano and string quartet, selected for the 2003 SPNM shortlist, Flectar, for trombone and live electronics, written for David Purser, and Alúna, for viola, ensemble and live electronics, written for Rivka Golani.
In 2000 I moved to the UK to become Head of Music Technology at Birmingham Conservatoire. Since arriving in Birmingham I started to develop a wide range of activities and resources to integrate new technologies with composition and performance. From 2001 to 2005 I directed the Thallein Ensemble, a group of advanced students devoted to new music, promoting the performance of new works and existing repertoire with live electronics. Works by Blondeau, Colombo Taccani, Corghi, Fedele, Jodlowski, Leroux, Romitelli were among the many UK premieres by the ensemble. In 2003 I created the Conservatoire’s Centre for Composition and Performance with Technology, collaborating on performance and research projects with Jonathan Harvey (the modernisation of his older works that use obsolete technology), Julian Anderson (the electronics of Book of Hours, winner of the 2006 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for large-scale composition) and Luca Francesconi (a new version of the multi-media work Lips Eyes Bang) among others. In 2004 I supervised the renovation of the Conservatoire’s Recital Hall, a unique space for the performance of multimedia and live electronics works.
From 2005 to 2012 I directed Integra – Fusing music and technology, a 3.1m Euro project funded by the Culture programme of the European Union, bringing together conservatoires, research centres and new music ensembles from eight countries to promote live electronic music. One of the main outcomes of the project, the software Integra Live, has been widely adopted around the world. In 2009 I co-founded with Jamie Bullock the Integra Lab, the research centre devoted to musician-centred interaction design.
Papers and articles relating to current research include ‘From culture to nature and back. A personal journey through the soundscapes of Colombia’ [Journal of Sonic Studies, 19, 2020], ‘HarpCI, Empowering Performers to Control and Transform Harp Sounds in Live Performance’ [Contemporary Music Review, 38:6, 2019), ‘Live Electronics in Practice: Approaches to training professional performers’ [Organised Sound, 18:2, 2013], ‘Towards a humane graphical user interface for live electronic music’ [NIME Proceedings, Pittsburgh 2009], ‘Sustainability of live electronic music in the Integra project’ [Melecon IEEE Proceedings, Ajaccio 2008], ‘A novel approach to music with live electronics’ [Nordic Sounds, 4, 2006], ‘Modernising musical works involving Yamaha DX based synthesis: a case study’ [Organised Sound, 11:3, 2006], ‘Modernising live electronics technology in the works of Jonathan Harvey’ [ICMC Proceedings, Barcelona 2005].
In 2011 I completed an MBA at Warwick Business School with a dissertation on a sustainable model for higher music education, and in the last five years I have become more involved in the management of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, overseeing strategic projects and the expansion of our international activities all over the world. From 2014 to 2018 I was also directly involved in the design and construction of the new Conservatoire building, featuring state-of-the-art facilities and an innovative digital infrastructure.