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profiles - composers - luigi nono - biography


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Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono - Biography
Venezia, 1924 - 1990

La fabbrica illuminata (1964)
for soprano and tape

In 1941 he meets Gian Francesco Malipiero and attends his composition course at the Venice Conservatorio "Benedetto Marcello", as an auditor.
In 1946 he graduates from the University of Padova with a Degree in Law. In Rome, he meets the poet Giuseppe Ungaretti, Luigi Dallapiccola and Bruno Maderna, who is to become his mentor and friend.
In 1948 together with Bruno Maderna he participates in a conducting course in Venice given by Hermann Scherchen, during which he meets the Brazilian pianist and composer Eunice Catunda. Catunda, a communist, introduces Nono to the poetry of Federico García Lorca. After the course ends Nono follows Scherchen to Zurich and to Rapallo for further studies.
In 1950 he attends the "Ferienkurse für neue Musik" in Darmstadt, where his first composition, the Variazioni canoniche sulla serie dell'op.41 di Arnold Schoenberg, is premiered. In Darmstadt he meets Edgar Varèse, Karl Amadeus Hartmann and Rudolf Kolisch. He establishes a friendship with Wolfgang Steinecke, the director of the "Ferienkurse". Nono takes part in the "Ferienkurse" every year until 1960; seven of his compositions have their world premieres in Darmstadt.
1951 First meeting with Karlheinz Stockhausen.
1952 Nono joins the Italian Comunist Party. He makes contact with Erwin Piscator. Exchange of letters and subsequently meeting in Rome with Angelo M Ripellino. In Paris with Scherchen he meets Pierre Boulez and visits Pierre Schaeffer's electronic studio. Together with Maderna and Stockhausen he attends several electronic music lessons given by Werner Meyer-Eppler in Bonn (also during the next year).
1954 First trip to Turin; he meets the publisher Giulio Einaudi, Massimo Mila, Giulio Bollati and Italo Calvino. He travels to Hamburg to attend the world premiere of Schoenberg's Moses und Aron and there meets Nuria Schoenberg.
In 1956 moves to the island of Giudecca (Venice). Takes part in a symposium on new compositional techniques at the "Elektroakustisches Experimentalstudio", founded by Scherchen at Gravesano in 1954. He and Maderna teach a composition course in Darmstadt. The first performance of Il canto sospeso in Cologne is a great success.
1957 Lectures on Schoenberg's compositional technique in Darmstadt during the "Ferienkurse".
1958 First trip to Prague. Nono attends the Warsaw Autumn Festival. Helmut Lachenmann becomes his pupil.
1959 He teaches for the first time at the "Dartington Summer School of Music". At Darmstadt his lecture Presenza storica nella musica d'oggi provokes violent reactions and brings his ten-year friendship with Stockhausen to an end.
1960 At the "Ferienkurse" in Darmstadt he gives two lectures on the theme: Text-Music-Voice.
Nono composes his first electronic work, Omaggio a Vedova, in Milano at the Studio di Fonologia of the RAI.
1961 The first performance of Nono's Intolleranza 1960 (Texts by: H. Alleg, B. Brecht, A. Césaire, P. Eluard, J. Fucík, W. Majakovski, A. M. Ripellino, J.-P. Sartre) takes place at the Gran Teatro "La Fenice" in Venice during the Biennale Festival. This is the first world premiere in Italy of a work by Nono.
1962 Travels to the USSR. Teaches at Dartington and at the University of Helsinki.
1963 Lecture at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini (Venice) Possibility and necessity of a new musical theater. Begins working with the poet Giuliano Scabia.
1964 Begins a long series of lecture-concerts with performances of his works in factories and for workers' and students' organizations, from Genova to Southern Italy.
1965 First American performance of Intolleranza 1960 in Boston, conducted by Bruno Maderna. Erwin Piscator introduces Nono to Peter Weiss.
1966 Friendship with Giovanni Pirelli and collaboration with "The Living Theatre" in Milano.
Elected as a member of the "Akademie der Künste" in East Berlin.
1967 First voyage to Latin America, lasting three months (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Panama, Mexico, Cuba), with Nuria and their two daughters. Teaches a month-long composition course in Buenos Aires at the Instituto Torcuato di Tella. In Peru, for having dedicated his lecture series at the University San Marcos to the memory of the Peruvian guerrillas "massacred by the guardia civil", he is arrested and deported the next day. In Cuba he meets Fidel Castro and Alejo Carpentier.
1968 Participates in the demonstrations against the Biennale Art Festival in Venice. Second trip to Latin America. In Cuba he meets the "revolutionary poet" Carlos Franqui.
1969 Musica- Manifesto n. 1: Un volto, del mare (Text by: C. Pavese) - Non consumiamo Marx (Texts: documents from the Paris demonstrations of May 1968)
1970 25 lecture-concerts in different cities in Tuscany and Umbria.
1971 Nono meets Luciano Cruz, the young leader of the MIR, and the Argentinian poet Julio Huasi in Santiago de Chile. Exchange of ideas and planning with Claudio Abbado, Maurizio Pollini and Luigi Pestalozza for a new festival in Reggio Emilia to be called "Musica/Realtà".
1973 Begins work with the stage director Juri Ljubimov and the designer David Borovski of the Taganka Theater of Moscow on Al gran sole carico d'amore.
1975 First Performance of Al gran sole carico d'amore at the Teatro Lirico in Milan, conducted by Claudio Abbado. (Texts by: B. Brecht, T. Bunke, F. Castro, E. "Che" Guevara, E. Dimitrov, M. Gorki, A. Gramsci, Lenin, K. Marx, L. Michel, C. Pavese, A. Rimbaud, C. Sánchez, H. Santamaría, compiled by L. Nono)
1978 Begins to work with Massimo Cacciari on the text for Prometeo.
1979 The first issue of the monthly Laboratorio Musica, of which Nono is the editor, is published in June.
1980 In December Nono visits the "Experimentalstudio der Heinrich Strobel-Stiftung des Südwestfunks" in Freiburg, where he would realize his live electronics for the next eight years, spending long periods of time in the Hotel Halden in the Black Forest.
1983 Meets Marta e György Kurtág in Budapest.
1984 World premiere of Prometeo. Tragedia dell'ascolto (Texts compiled by M. Cacciari), during the Music Festival of the Venice Biennale. Renzo Piano designs the "musical space" for the performance.
1985 Lecture at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini Other listening possiblities. Travels in Spain. On the wall of a monastery in San Francesco di Toledo he sees the graffiti "Caminantes, no hay caminos, hay que caminar".
1986 Guest of the DAAD in Berlin (until 1987). In August, travels to the Arctic Sea.
1987 Trip to the USSR, where he meets Gidon Kremer. In Paris he meets Edmond Jabès. Travels to Japan for the world premiere of No hay caminos, hay que caminar... Andrej Tarkowskij
1988 Fellow of the "Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin". Guest professor at the "Hochschule der Künste" in Berlin (Nono soon gives up this position in protest over the organization of the course). Composition course in Granada.
1989 Travels to Moscow, Leningrad and Budapest. Takes part in the Festival of the "Centre Acanthes" in Avignon, dedicated to him, with concerts, lectures and courses.
1990 Receives the "Berliner Kunstpreis".
Dies in Venice on the 8th of May.