Giampaolo Testoni was born in Milan (April 2, 1957). He studied composition and electronic music at the G. Verdi Conservatory under Niccolò Castiglioni and Angelo Paccagnini.
He made his first appearance as a composer in 1978 at the UNESCO Music Workshop in Copenhagen. In 1980 his Le nuvole
for chamber orchestra was awarded a prize – on advice from Goffredo Petrassi – at the Associazione Filarmonica Umbra’s International Concert Series for Chamber Music and Opera.
In 1981 he took part in the inaugural edition of the Rassegna Venezia Opera Prima and the Biennale Musica entitled ‘After the Avant-garde’, meeting with great enthusiasm on the part of both audiences and critics.
In 1982 RAI selected Le nuvole
to participate in the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris and in 1983 it commissioned the composer to write the Prima Sinfonia
for the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano under the direction of John Mauceri.
In 1984 he wrote Notturno
(commissioned by the Orchestra dell’Angelicum). In the same year the world premieres of Wonderland Variations
and the composer’s orchestration of Castiglioni’s piano cycle Come io passo l’estate
were performed by the A. Scarlatti Orchestra in Naples under the direction of Roberto Abbado.
Testoni’s Seconda Sinfonia
(1990) was commissioned by Milan’s Pomeriggi Musicali Orchestra, for which the composer also wrote his Concerto per archi
In 1994 the Arena in Verona commissioned him to write an Ouverture
for orchestra. This was later revived by the orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome under the direction of Daniele Gatti.
In 1996 he wrote a cycle of lieder entitled Sette Canti Romantici
for the soprano Barbara Frittoli. The world premiere was performed by the Società del Quartetto di Milano.
In 1997 the composer’s Nove Studi Spirituali
, written for the Percussionists of the Scala, were performed at the Ravenna Festival; in the same year Divertimento for 14 instruments
and Te lucis ante terminum
for female choir and piano (in memory of Niccolò Castiglioni) were performed as part of the Sagra Musicale Umbra.
Between 1986 and 1992 Testoni wrote Alice
, an opera in three acts on a libretto by the poet Danilo Bramati. This was performed in 1993 at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo with stage direction by Sandro Sequi and later released on CD by Agorà.
Subsequently the composer dedicated himself to orchestrating Liszt’s piano cycle L’albero di Natale
and Schumann’s Carnaval
Since 2003 he has collaborated with the choreographer Emanuela Tagliavia and the videoartist and choreographer Davide Montagna, writing music for various productions performed at the Leonardo da Vinci Science and Technology Museum in Milan (2006), at the Ravenna Festival and at the 2007 Festival MITO SettembreMusica with dancers from the Ballet School of the Teatro alla Scala Academy.