Alessandro Cipriani

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Born in Tivoli (Rome), 1959

Cipriani completed his studies in music composition and electroacoustic music at the Conservatorio S.Cecilia in Rome with G.Bizzi and G.Piazza. He studied for a time with Barry Truax in Vancouver (Canada).

Since 1989 he has worked on intermedia pieces and audio-video multichannel and interactive installations, often in collaboration with visual artist Alba D’Urbano and director Giulio Latini, on pieces for instruments and electronics and electroacoustic pieces with traditional religious singers.
He has composed soundtracks for creative film-documentaries and silent movies, integrating an advanced concept of fusion between dialogue, sound environment and music, including the soundtrack (in collaboration with Edison Studio composers) of “Inferno” (1911), “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1919), the expressionist masterpiece by Robert Wiene and “Battleship Potemkin” by Ejzenstejn. All three have been published in surround sound DVD by Cineteca di Bologna. Other soundtracks with Edison Studio are “The Last Days of Pompeii” (1913), , and “Blackmail” by Alfred Hitchcock, . He has also co-written (with Luigi Ceccarelli) the soundtrack for the 3D movie by Michel Comte “The Girl from Nagasaki”, the musical operas “Faust” and “Turandot” with National Beijing Opera Theatre, and two dance works by Robyn Orlin, performed at Venice Biennale Dance and Theatre de La Ville in Paris.

His works have received honors and have been selected for performance at Synthèse Bourges, Government of Canada Award, International Computer Music Conference 94, 95, 99, 2002, 2003, 2008,  CalArts/RedCat Festival – Walt Disney Hall, Los Angeles, Venice Biennale, Opera Theater Leipzig, (Germany) International Symposium on Electronic Arts, Musica Nova (Praha), Newcomp (U.S.A.), Inventionen (Berlin – Germany), Nuova Consonanza (Rome), Ravenna Festival, Engine 27 (New York), Festival d’Automne (Paris) etc.
He has been tenured professor of electroacoustic music at the Conservatory of Catania (Ist. Mus. V. Bellini) from 1995 to 2003 and at the Conservatory of Frosinone (Rome) since November 2003. A compilation of electroacoustic pieces by his students from Sicily has been published on Electronic Music Foundation label (New York).

He has taught and lectured about his music and his theory of ‘electroacoustic tradition’ at several Academies (Sibelius Academy – Helsinki, Accademia S.Cecilia- Rome etc.) and Universities in Europe, Canada and the U.S. (Simon Fraser University – Burnaby B.C., Californian Institute of the Arts (Los Angeles), University of Rome “Tor Vergata, University of California – Santa Barbara, Univ. of Catania,  MedienKunst Dept. of Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig, DMU University, Leicester etc.).

He has published analytical and theoretical papers in several journals (Organised Sound, Musica/Realtà, etc.) and has published the textbooks “Virtual Sound” and “Electronic Music and Sound Design” (written in collaboration with M.Giri and R.Bianchini) and adopted for computer music courses in various Universities and Conservatories in Europe, South and North America.

His CD “Il Pensiero Magmatico” in collaboration with Stefano Taglietti is available on Edipan label. Other pieces can be found in the International Computer Music Conference ’95 and ICMC’99 CDs. A monographic CD, “Al Nur”, including all his works with oral tradition musicians and his trilogy on religious chant, was released on CNI Compagnia Nuove Indye. Computer Music Journal (M.I.T. Press) selected one of his multi-channel pieces  (in surround 5.1) to be included in the annual DVD in 2003, released on CMJ 27 (4). A piece written for Iranian percussionist Mahammad Ghavi Helm  has been published on CNI-RAI Trade label. A 5.1 piece on DVD has been released on Everglade Records (USA) and an acousmatic piece on XXI Musicale – Elettronica Italiana Vol.2.

His music has been broadcast by RAI, CBC and several other national radio networks as well as performed at festivals in Europe, China, South-America, Canada, and the U.S.A. He is one of the founding members of Edison Studio in Rome. He is also member of the Editorial Board of the review Organised Sound (Cambridge University Press). For this review he has been guest editor of a special issue dedicated to the relationship between electroacoustic music and Local/Global culture with articles by Trevor Wishart, Barry Truax etc.


Turandot with Beijing Opera Theatre

Alessandro Cipriani, Electroacoustic music, Music for theatre Jan 2019


music Luigi Ceccarelli, Alessandro Cipriani e Qiu Xiaobo

direction Marco Plini
direction for Beijing opera Xu Mengke
dramaturgy Wu Jiang e Wu Yuejia
assistant director Thea Dellavalle

costumes Jiang Dian
choreography Cao Yang
lighting design Tommaso Checcucci
video Orlando Bolognesi
hairstyling and makeup Zheng Weiling

with the actors of National Beijing Opera Theatre Company
Zhang Jiachun, Turandot – Xu Mengke, Calaf – Wu Tong, Liù – Liu Dake, Timur – Ma Lei, emperor Wang Ping – Wang Chao, Ping – Nan Zikang, Pong – Weng Pengyu, Pang

Vincenzo Core, electric guitar and electronics – Giacomo Piermatti, double bass – Meng Lingshen, jing hu – Zhang Fuqi, jing er hu – Li Lijing, yue qin
percussions: Laura Mancini, bass drum, vibraphone, rototom – Wang Xi, ban gu e da tang gu – Cao Rongping, nao bo – Chen Shumin, xiao luo – Niu Lulu, da luo

produced by  China National Peking Opera Company, Emilia Romagna Teatro, Teatro Metastasio di Prato

Asian Premiere – 21 December 2018, Beijing (Cina), Tsinghua University, Meng Minwei Concert Hall
European Premiere – 10 January 2019, Bolzano, Teatro Stabile di Bolzano

other performances:
11-13 January 2019, Bolzano, Teatro Stabile di Bolzano
17-20 January 2019, Prato, Teatro Metastasio
23-27 January 2019, Modena, Teatro Storchi
29 January 2019, Ferrara, Teatro Comunale
1 February 2019, Casalmaggiore, Teatro Comunale
5-10 February, Roma, Teatro Argentina

technical manager Robert John Resteghini, stage manager Gioacchino Gramolini, machinist Riccardo Betti, head electrician Tommaso Checcucci, head audio technician Alberto Tranchida, audio technician Filippo Cassani, video technician Orlando Bolognesi, tailor and stagehand Lucia Bramati, translators Wen Yan e Zhou Quan

collaborator to the scenes project Marco Fieni, scenes built in the laboratory of Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione, head constructor Gioacchino Gramolini, builders Riccardo Betti e Marco Fieni, scenes decorators Lucia Bramati e Francesca di Serio

It may appear like a big challenge, at first, to write new music for Turandot. This work is very far from the famous opera by Puccini. Here we are in China, the true China, not the told or dreamed about. Only one part of the story (which stems from the Persian medieval time) has some similarity with that opera. The music, the text, the acting, the storytelling, the setting are totally different. Our goal as composers in this work was that of tackling the ancient tradition of Beijing Opera, with its actors and musicians, and also with its musical tradition. The music of Chinese opera shows unexpected rhythmical variations in relationship with the movements and phrasing of the actors, and there is no relationship whatsoever with Italian opera in many senses.

Turandot music is an encounter between Chinese opera traditional melodies elaborated and sometimes reinvented by Chinese composer Qiu Xiaobo, and original music created by two Italian composers. We created a second sound and music layer, parallel but also integrated with Chinese music and acting. We also expanded electronically the Chinese acoustic timbres; our live and recorded processing of their instruments became a bridge between the Italian instruments (double bass, electric guitar and percussions) and the Chinese ones (also string instruments and percussions).  The electronics part is like a magnifying lens which leads us to listen to that instrumental music in a different way, and it plays the role of a bridge between the two musical cultures. It also expands the sound onto a multidimensional space, which evolves together with the story, and it becomes the immersive acoustic space of the storytelling.

(Alessandro Cipriani and Luigi Ceccarelli)