Luca Francesconi (Milan, March 17, 1956) 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 an assistant to Berio 1981–84. In 1990 he founded AGON acustica informatica musica, a centre for music research and production in Milan.
He has written more than a hundred works, ranging from solo to large orchestral pieces, from opera to multimedia, commissioned and performed all over the world. He collaborates regularly with leading conductors, soloists and ensembles.
He has composed five radio-operas and several works of music theatre including Ballata
(La Monnaie, Brussels); Buffa Opera
which he conducted in many performances; Gesualdo Considered as a Murderer
for Holland Festival, the dramatic oratorio; Terra
, which opened the Teatro San Carlo 2011 Season and the opera Quartett
(2011) based on the play by Heiner Müller, commissioned by Teatro alla Scala/Wiener Festwochen, (director Àlex Ollé / Fura dels Baus, conductor Susanna Mälkki). Quartett
was performed more than 70 times since its premiere (Wiener Festwochen, Cité de la Musique , Holland Festival, Oporto, Musica Strasbourg, Opéra de Lille, Gulbenkian Lisbon, London Royal Opera House-Covent Garden (new production), Opera di Mälmo (new production), Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, Rouen, Trento, Spoleto Festival Usa. His more recent opera is Trompe-la-Mort
(after Balzac) It was staged at Opéra national de Paris in 2017 (director Guy Cassiers, conductor Susanna Mällki).
Works in his wide catalogue include: Etymo
for soprano, live electronics and chamber orchestra, (Kairos CD with Ensemble Intercontemporain and Barbara Hannigan); Wanderer
for large orchestra (commissioned by Filarmonica della Scala) conducted by Riccardo Muti; Cobalt, Scarlet
commissioned by Mariss Jansson for the Oslo Philharmonic and performed a lot of times by important orchestras among them Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Gewandhaus di Lipsia, BBC Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique Radio France, Göteborg Symphoniker, Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philarmonic; the trumpet concerto Hard Pace
for Håkan Hardenberger commissioned by Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra (under Antonio Pappano) along with Zaterdag Matinée-Concertgebouw, Göteborg Symphoniker, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Festival MITO; the cello concerto Unexpected End of Formula
commissioned and performed by musikFabrik in Cologne, dedicated to Helmuth Lachenmann.
In recent years he wrote: Duende, The Dark Notes
(2013), a violin concerto for Leila Josefowicz commissioned by Swedish Radio Orchestra, BBC Proms, RAI Orchestra (conductor Susanna Mällki); Piano Concerto
(2013) for Nicolas Hodges commissioned by Casa da Mùsica (Porto); Dentro non ha tempo
(2014) orchestra piece commissioned by Teatro alla Scala and performed under Esa-Pekka Salonen; Vertical Invader
(2015) written for Calefax wind quintett and Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and premiered at Amsterdam Concertgebouw; Macchine in echo
(2015), concerto for Grau-Schumacher Piano Duo commissioned by WDR, Festival MUSICA and Wiener Konzerthaus/Ernst von Siemens Foundation and premiered in Cologne; Bread, Water and Salt
(2015) for choir and orchestra inspired to Nelson Mandela premiered in Rome under Antonio Pappano. It was a joint commission of Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Radio France. Daedalus
(2017) for flute and ensemble is a commission of Daniel Barenboim Foundation. The world premiere (Boulez Saal, Berlin) was performed by Emmanuel Pahud and the Boulez Ensemble under the baton of Daniel Barenboim (January 2018). das Ding singt
, concert for cello and orchestra, was commissioned by Luzern Festival. It was written for Jay Campbell and conducted by Matthias Pintcher (September 2017). We Wept
, for mezzo soprano and ensemble, was written for the London Sinfonietta conducted by George Benjamin (July 2018). Trauma Études
was written for the Ensemble Signal and premiered in Washington, under the baton of Brad Lubman (March 2019).
, his recent work for electric guitar and orchestra will be premiered in Lisbon by the Orquestra Metropolitana on September 29, conductor Pedro Amaral, soloist Ruben Mattia Santorsa.
Future projects include Timon of Athens,
opera for the Bayerische Staats Oper, and a violin concerto for Patricia Kopatchinskaja.
Francesconi is also an active conductor and has taught at conservatories and masterclasses around the world for 30 years. He is Head of Composition at the Musikhögskolan, Malmö (Sweden).
He has been Music Director of the Venice Biennale (2008-2011), Director of the Ultima Festival in Oslo. In 2012 he was professor in residence at the Gulbenkian Foundation, taking over Emanuel Nunes position. In the same year he was professor in residence and featured composer at the new Academie Achantes at IRCAM in Paris. In 2013 he was composer in residence at the Casa de Musica of Porto.
In 2018 Francesconi received two major awards: the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize
for musical composition and the Prix Italiques
for the opera Trompe-la-Mort.
Photo by Roberto Masotti