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profiles - composers - domenico guaccero - biography


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Domenico Guaccero
Domenico Guaccero - Biography
Palo del Colle, 1927 - Roma, 1984

... un iter segnato (1960)
for doubled quintet
© I.R.TE.M.

He was one of the most representative musicians of the New Music movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He was active in difficult times for Italian musical scene and stood out as an example of coherence in sustaining his ideas. Many of contemporary composers are indebted to his experimentation and teaching.
He was deeply interested in the renewal of musical language and his extraordinary interest in experimentation led him to undertake numerous initiatives and to advocate bold innovations with regard to the institutional channels of the diffusion of music in Italy.

He began his studies in Bari, obtaining a diploma in piano (1948) and graduating in literature from the local university (1949). He then moved to Rome where he studied composition, graduating in 1956 under the guidance of Goffredo Petrassi. Thereafter he attended the Darmstadt summer courses in 1957 and 1959.
In 1957 he founded, with Goffredo Petrassi, Guido Turchi, Roman Vlad, Gino Marinuzzi and others, the Centre for Electronic Music of the Roman Philharmonic Academy.
In 1959 he was one of the founders and directors of the "Ordini" magazine together with Franco Evangelisti, Egisto Macchi and Antonino Titone. With Evangelisti, Macchi, and also Daniele Paris and Mauro Bortolotti, Guaccero founded the musical association Nuova Consonanza, which was joined by several composers, including Mario Bertoncini, Aldo Clementi, Antonio De Blasio, Francesco Pennisi and then Ennio Morricone, Giacinto Scelsi and others. Guaccero had also organized the Weeks of New Music in Palermo.
In 1963 he edited with Paolo Emilio Carapezza, Heinz-Klaus Metzger (afterwards joined by Mauricio Kagel) the magazine Collage, based in Palermo.
In 1965 he founded the Compagnia del Teatro Musicale in Rome with Egisto Macchi and, initially, Sylvano Bussotti, Guaccero. And in 1968, again with Egisto Macchi and Franco Evangelisti, Walter Branchi, Gino Marinuzzi and Paolo Ketoff, he set up in Rome the Studio R7 for electronic music.
In 1972 he came back to Rome and founded the Centre for Experimental Music, with Luca Lombardi and Alvin Curran; and between 1973 and 1976 he organized the improvisation and electronic group Musica Ex Machina with these same musicians and Allan Bryant, Giuseppe Mazzuca and Sergio Rendine.
In 1973 he set up the organizing committee of the International Symposium on Contemporary Musical Graphics with Goffredo Petrassi, Egisto Macchi, Daniele Paris and Mario Bertoncini.
In 1977 he recorded with Mario Schiano, Bruno Tommaso and Alessandro Sbordoni the Lp of jazz improvisation "De Dé" (FolkStudio FK5008).
In 1978 he organized and directed the group of music and improvisation theatre, Intermedia.
In 1983 in collaboration with Egisto Macchi he founded the Institute of the Voice.

Guaccero was a contributor to RAI and worked with directors Massimo Sani, Piero Berengo Gardin, Luigi Di Gianni, Ugo Gregoretti. He composed also music for stage for Antonio Calenda and other theatre directors.
He taught composition at the conservatories of Pesaro, L'Aquila, Frosinone and Rome and took part to the executive committee of the Italian Musicians' Association (Sindacato Musicisti Italiani).
The versatility displayed in all his activities also characterizes Guaccero's musical compositions. He has accepted a wide range of new techniques, particularly those bearing on theatre, which has always been the medium of his choice. Moving from Serialism to aleatory processes, "action music", mixed media and multi-stylistic collage (exemplified respectively by Un Iter segnato, Schemi, Negativo, Klaviatura and Sinfonia 2), he joined the musical theatre with works such as Scene del Potere (Teatro Biondo, Palermo 1968), Rappresentazione et esercizio (Sagra Musicale Umbra, Perugia 1968) and the ballet Rot (with the choreographer Amedeo Amodio, Teatro dell'Opera of Rome, 1973), works in which Guaccero's research of new musical languages successful blends social criticism with esoteric archaism.
In his scores, even while recognizing the disintegration of the system of classic signs, we can see a new balance between the emancipation of the graphics of sound and the extreme precision and pragmatics of graphic representation, considered as not a bearer of artistic value per se but as one of the main means of communication in the definition and transformation of thought.

In his late vocals works (Kardia, Casa dell'armonia, 5 canti da Tasso, Il sole e l'altre stelle and Un Hombre) he reached a successful balance between experimentalism and expressiveness.
Performers of Guaccero's compositions include: Daniele Paris, Severino Gazzelloni, Dino Asciolla, Bruno Giuranna, Michiko Hirayama, Lucia Vinardi, Bill Smith, John Eaton, Massimo Coen, Paola Bernardi, Mariolina de Robertis, Domenico Ceccarossi, Jesus Villa-Rojo, Alirio Diaz, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Elena Zaniboni, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Claudio Scimone and the Solisti Veneti, Bruna Liguori Valenti and the Coro Aureliano of Rome, Elisabeth Norberg-Schulz, Giuseppe Scotese and more.

Guaccero's main articles may be divided into: works regarding musical seriality (Problemi di sintassi musicale), works on the problems of Alea and aleatory graphics (L'alea, da suono a segno grafico, Per un fondamento critico della grafie aleatorie) and works on musical theatre (Un'esperienza di teatro musicale, Sulla tradizione del teatro musicale).
Mario Bortolotto, Paolo Emilio Carapezza, Piero Dallamano, Toni Geraci, Stefania Gianni, Egisto Macchi, Carlo Marinelli, Luigi Pestalozza, Giuliano Salis, Nicola Sani, Antonino Titone, Daniela Tortora, Erasmo Valente, Gianfranco Zaccaro, Michelangelo Zurletti and others have written about him.