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Luigi Ceccarelli


Vincenzo Core

Luigi Ceccarelli completed his studies in Electronic Music and Composition at the Pesaro Conservatory with Walter Branchi, Guido Baggiani and Giuliano Zosi, dedicating himself to musical composition using electroacoustic technologies. His work as a composer, which began in 1975, is mainly based on digital technology such as processing of natural sounds and on research on the spatialization of sound. In addition to musical works, an important part of his production is linked to experimental theater, contemporary dance, cinema and visual arts. His first compositions during his studies were Composizione Due, a piece for 5 double basses and trombone and an audiovisual installation, Il Contingente Cambia Colore, that took place in a large area of the Conservatory. In the last years of attendance at the Conservatory he has become technical assistant of the LEMS (Electronic Laboratory for Experimental Music) of the same conservatory, and has assisted the various guest composers in the realization of electroacoustic works, including Armando Gentilucci.

At the end of the 1970s he has moved to Rome to work with Achille Perilli and Lucia Latour within "ALTRO, intercode working group". Thanks to them, he has deepened the relationship between music, visual arts and dance and since then his activity has taken place in parallel both in the field of electroacoustic music, and in musical theater in its most disparate forms, and dance.

For the ALTRO group he has created the soundtrack for the performance Abominable A, performed at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome and at the Technical University of Warsaw, also designing a special sound spatialization system. Since 1981 the ALTRO group has changed its way of working and has become ALTRO Teatro, in which Luigi Ceccarelli has continued to make music and dance shows with the choreographer and architect Lucia Latour until 1995. Among these the most representative shows are: Spatium Teca (1982), Frilli Troupe (1986), On y Tombe on n'y Tombe, (1989) Anihccam from 1989 and Naturalmente Tua (1992), commissioned among others by Romaeuropa Festival and from the "Oriente-Occidente" Festival of Rovereto. For these performances, in addition to creating the music, Ceccarelli also has directed the multivision made with computer-controlled slide multi-projection systems.

From 1980 until 2014 he has been the holder of the chair of Electronic Music at the Perugia conservatory, then he has moved to the Latina conservatory where he has been teaching until 2020.

Also in the 1980s he has founded the ElectraVox Ensemble performance group with which he has made numerous electroacoustic music concerts and performances and two LPs (Electravox Ensemble I and Electravox Ensemble II) with his music and music by Walter Branchi, Guido Baggiani and David Keberle.

In the '70s and' 80s electroacoustic music was essentially analogue, and Ceccarelli used for his compositions traditional instruments with electronic processing, designing special equipment himself, such as a multiple system of variable delays or vibration exciters that make the instruments sound without performer. With these techniques he has composed Incontro con Rama (1982) and Titanic & Icarus spa (1985). From the end of the 80s, with the advent of computers and digital sound production and processing techniques, he began to use digital systems for sound processing and editing. With these techniques he has created various works for instruments and electronics such as Anima di Metallo (1990) for the three percussionists of the Ars Ludi group, Quanti for clarinet, written for David Keberle, Birds for bass clarinet, Neuromante for alto Sax written for Federico Mondelci, Respiri (1999) for horn commissioned by the AGON Studio of Milan.

In the mid-90s he has made various radio works, produced by Rai Radio3 including the radio opera La Guerra dei Dischi based on a text by Stefano Benni, I Viaggi in Tasca on a text by Valerio Magrelli, and La Commedia della Vanità by Elias Canetti under the direction of Giorgio Pressburger, also represented live at the Mittelfest in Cividale del Friuli.

In 1993 he founded Edison Studio, together with Alessandro Cipriani, Mauro Cardi and Fabio Cifariello Ciardi. The four composers create soundtracks for films of the silent period with a collective composition method, performing them live with electroacoustic systems. Their performances were presented in Italy and in various other countries including the United States, France, Russia, Germany, England, and Singapore. Since 2001, Edison Studio composed the soundtracks for the following films: The last days of Pompeii (1913), Blackmail by Alfred Hitchcock (1929), Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1919), Inferno ( 1911) and The Potemkin Battleship (2017). The last three have been published on DVD by the Cineteca di Bologna.

In 1996 he was awarded the prize for electroacoustic music with live performance in the competition of the IMEB (Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique of Bourges - France) and in the following years the Institute commissioned him various works which he has produced in the same studios of the IMEB. In particular, in 1996 he has composed De Zarb a Daf for zarb, daf and samples of these instruments. On that occasion he met the Iranian percussionist Mahammad Ghavi Helm with whom he has performed this piece several times in concert and released it on CD.

These and other works of his where scheduled at the Synthese Festival, and in Bourges he met all the most important composers of the international electro-acoustic scene.

In 2001 he has resumed the work with dance. He has created the music for three choreographies, commissioned by the Venice Biennale, and began a stable collaboration with the choreographer Francesco Scavetta and with the company "Wee" of Oslo, which led him to the realization of three shows: Live* (2001), Hey Dude (2008) and in 2010 Strangely Enough. In these performance music and dance are closely related and are born from a work of collective creation, where instrumental performers are also involved, who interact with electronic processing. For the three shows the performers where: Paolo Ravaglia (clarinet), Diego Conti (violin) and Daniele Roccato (double bass).
In 2007 and 2008 he has created the music for two choreographies of the Déjà Donné dance company. From 2009 to 2012, in collaboration with Alessandro Cipriani, he created the music for two shows of the South African choreographer Robyn Orlin, With Astonishment I Note the Dog (revisited) (2009) and Have you Hugged, Kissed and Respected your Brown Venus Today? (2011), produced by the Venice Biennale and the Festival d'Automne (France).

In 2000 he has begun a series of creations, in particular of musical theater, commissioned by the Ravenna Festival which continues to this day. In particular, his association with the director Marco Martinelli and the actress Ermanna Montanari led him to the realization of various shows: L'isola di Alcina, concert for horn and voice of Romagna (2000) produced by the Venice Biennale, Ouverture Alcina and Lus (2015) with the text by Nevio Spadoni,  La Mano - De Profundis Rock (2008) and Maryam (2017), based on the text by Luca Doninelli, Fedeli d'Amore (2018) on text by Marco Martinelli, Inferno (2017) and Purgatorio, public call for Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy"  (2019). For the Ravenna Festival he also produced the installation in Die Resurrectionis (2000) in the S. Vitale Basilica of Ravenna, a Requiem (2001) with texts and direction by the Fanny & Alexander theater company. Also important is the collaboration with the director and actress Elena Bucci, with whom he has realized  Galla Placidia, Francesca da Rimini, Nella Lingua e nella Spada between 2002 and 2019.

In 2009 at the Classense library, again as part of the Ravenna Festival, he presented the installation Bianco Nero Piano Forte, created together with photographers Roberto Masotti and Silvia Lelli and with texts by Mara Cantoni. Also part of the installation is Aura in Visibile.2, made with a piano that produces sound by means of an electro-mechanical vibration exciter.

Over the years Luigi Ceccarelli has received international awards including in 2005 the OPUS prize of the Conseil Québécois de la Musique (Canada), the "Euphonie d'Or", in 2004 at the IMEB Bourges Competition. In this competition he was also awarded in 2003 with the performance Live* and in 1996 with Birds. In 2002 he was awarded the UBU Prize (prize of the Italian critics of the show, for the first time assigned to a musician), the Special Jury Prize at the MESS Festival in Sarajevo and the Prize at the BITEF Festival in Belgrade for the composition of Requiem. In 1999 he received the "Hear" award from the Hungarian Radio and Television and in 1997 and 1998 the "Honorary Mention" at the "Ars Elettronica" competition in Linz (Austria). His works have also been selected by the International Computer Music Conference in the editions '95 (Aarhus), '97 (Thessaloniki), 99 (Beijing) and 2000 (Berlin), 2002 (Goteborg), 2003 (Singapore), 2008 (Belfast).

Between 2012 and 2013 he created with Alessandro Cipriani the music for Michel Comte's film The Girl from Nagasaki, inspired by Puccini's Madama Butterfly, presented at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014.

Also with Cipriani in 2015 and 2018 he created the music for the operas Faust and Turandot produced by Emilia Romagna Theater and Chinese National Peking Opera, with Chinese opera actors and musicians, Italian musicians and electronic processing. These performances, which toured in China, Italy and Germany, are a research on the language of the Peking Opera and an attempt to harmoniously blend Chinese and Western music.

Luigi Ceccarelli has always personally taken care of the electronic parts of his compositions and the direction of the concert sounds, which he occasionally also performs for other composers. In the early years of his work, he used analog equipment which, starting in the late 1980s, were increasingly replaced by digital techniques. The vast majority of his works are designed for surround and multi-channel systems.

Since 2011 he has also dedicated himself to improvisation as a performer of live electronics and for this reason he has created a personal system that processes live the sounds produced by the other instrumentalists participating in the performance. In recent years he has held improvisation concerts with various musicians including: Daniele Roccato, Paolo Ravaglia, Michele Rabbia, Amid Drake, Ken Vandermark, Gianni Trovalusci, David Moss, Patrizio Fariselli, Antonio Caggiano, Mariasole De Pascali, Alireza Mortazavi, Sanjay Kansa Banik, Markus Stockhausen, Fabio Mina.

His works are published on CD by RaiTrade, CNI, Luca Sossella Editore, Edipan, BMG-Ariola, Newtone, Gmeb / UNESCO / Cime, ICMC, Cineteca di Bologna, Stradivarius, Biennale di Venezia and are available on various online stores and Spotify.