The Miller Theater presents a portrait of composer by Italian LUCA FRANCESCONI in February

The Miller Theater at Columbia University School of the Arts continues its 2021-22 Portrait of Composers series with Luca Francesconi. The Signal Ensemble, in their first live ensemble concert since COVID, presents two full-scale premieres by the Italian composer whose work Brad Lubman has conducted many times in Europe.

The event will take place on Thursday, February 3 at 8:00 p.m. at the Miller Theater (2960 Broadway, 116th Street).

Tickets start at $ 20 ($ 10 for students with valid ID).

Luca Francesconi, born in Milan, studied piano at the Milan Conservatory and composition with Azio Corghi, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciano Berio. He also spent a period in Boston studying jazz. He was Berio’s assistant from 1981 to 1984. In 1990 he founded Agon Acustica Informatica Musica, a center for music research and production in Milan.

Francesconi has written over a hundred works – ranging from solo to large orchestral pieces, from opera to multimedia – and commissioned and performed around the world. He regularly collaborates with leading conductors, soloists and ensembles. He has composed five radio operas and several musical theater works including Ballata (La Monnaie, Brussels); Gesualdo considered a murderer for the Holland Festival; Quartet (2011) based on a play by Heiner Müller, commissioned by Teatro alla Scala / Wiener Festwochen (directed by Àlex Ollé / Fura dels Baus, conducted by Susanna Mälkki). Quartett has been performed over 80 times since its inception all over the world. His most recent opera is Trompe-la-Mort (after Balzac). It was staged at the Opéra National de Paris in 2017 (directed by Guy Cassiers, conducted by Susanna Mällki).

Works in its extensive catalog include: Etymo for soprano, live electronics and chamber orchestra (CD Kairos with the Ensemble intercontemporain and Barbara Hannigan); Wanderer for large orchestra commissioned by Filarmonica della Scala and conducted by Riccardo Muti; Cobalt, Scarlet commissioned by Mariss Jansson for the Oslo Philharmonic and performed frequently by orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Orchester philharmonique de Radio France, the Göteborgs Symfoniker, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; Hard Pace, a trumpet concerto for Håkan Hardenberger commissioned by the Orchester dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under the direction of Antonio Pappano, with ZaterdagMatinee Concertgebouw, Göteborgs Symfoniker, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and MITO SettembreMusica; Unexpected End of Formula, a cello concerto commissioned and performed by the Musikfabrik Ensemble in Cologne and dedicated to Helmut Lachenmann.

In recent years Francesconi has written: Duende, The Dark Notes (2013), a violin concerto for Leila Josefowicz commissioned by the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the BBC Proms, the RAI National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Susanna Mällki ; Piano Concerto (2013) for Nicolas Hodges commissioned by Casa da Música (Porto); Dentro non ha tempo (2014), a piece for orchestra commissioned by the Teatro alla Scala and performed by Esa-Pekka Salonen; Vertical Invader (2015) written for the reed quintet Calefax and the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and premiered at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; Macchine in echo (2015), a concerto for GrauSchumacher Piano Duo commissioned by WDR, Musica and the Wiener Konzerthaus / Ernst von Siemens Foundation, and premiered in Cologne; and Bread, Water and Salt (2015) for choir and orchestra inspired by Nelson Mandela, co-commissioned by the Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Radio France and premiered in Rome under the direction of Antonio Pappano. Daedalus (2017) for flute and ensemble was commissioned by the Daniel Barenboim Foundation with a world premiere (Boulez Saal, Berlin) performed by Emmanuel Pahud and the Ensemble Boulez under the direction of Daniel Barenboim (January 2018). Das Ding singt, a concerto for cello and orchestra, was commissioned by the Lucerne Festival and written for Jay Campbell under the direction of Matthias Pintcher (2017). We Wept, for mezzo-soprano and ensemble, was written for the London Sinfonietta conducted by George Benjamin (2018). Trauma Études was written for Ensemble Signal and premiered in Washington DC under the direction of Brad Lubman (2019). Zero Formula, his recent work for electric guitar and orchestra premiered by the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa in Lisbon (2019), with conductor Pedro Amaral and soloist Ruben Mattia Santorsa. Future projects include Timon of Athens, an opera for the Bayerische Staatsoper and a violin concerto for Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

Francesconi is also an active conductor and has taught master classes and at conservatories around the world for 30 years. He was musical director of the Venice Biennale (2008-2011) and artistic director of the Ultima Oslo Contemporary Festival (2011). In 2012, he was professor in residence at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and professor in residence and featured composer at the new IRCAM event in Paris, acanthes @ ircam. In 2013, he was composer in residence at the Casa da Música in Porto.

In 2018, Francesconi received two grand prizes: the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize for Musical Composition and the Italics Prize for the opera Trompe-la-Mort.


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