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Battistelli, Giorgio

Giorgio Battistelli, born in Albano Laziale (Roma) on April 25,1953, earned his diploma in composition in 1978 with Giancarlo Bizzi at the Conservatorio “A. Casella” in L’Aquila. In 1972 he founded the improvisation group “Edgard Varèse” and the instrumental ensemble “Beat ‘72”. In 1975, he attended composition seminars with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel in Cologne. In 1978-1979 he was in Paris to attend courses in the technique and interpretation of contemporary musical theatre. In 1985-86, he took up residence in Berlin at the invitation of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst.

In the 1980s he claimed his place as one of his generation’s finest and most sought-after composers, thanks to works like Experimentum mundi, which has been performed over 400 times throughout the world (in 2009 the work earned Battistelli a prestigious Herald Angel Award, assigned by Scottish music critics); Aphrodite, a “monodrama of ancient customs”; Jules Verne, a chamber music fantasy, with libretto by Battistelli; Le combat d’Hector et d’Achille, représentation de corps et de mémoire, for two musical orators; Globe Theatre, Ballet zur Jahrtausendwende, with choreography by Virgilio Sieni; Anarca, Hommage à Ernst Jünger, for orchestra.

Battistelli’s catalogue includes more than 35 stage works, which have been performed throughout Europe, and commissioned by the most important opera houses. Among the most reknown operas: Richard III made its world premiere at the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, in 2005, directed by Robert Carsen, and went on to triumph in Düsseldorf (2007), Strasbourg (2009), Geneva (2012), Venice (2018 – where it was awarded as best new opera by the Italian Association of Music Critics); Prova d’orchestra (a loose interpretation of the Federico Fellini film) was commissioned by the Opéra National du Rhin, of Strasbourg, in 1995, and went on to be performed in Düsseldorf (1997), Rome (2001), Linz (2004), Antwerp (2006), Bern (2007), Nuremberg (2009), and Münster (2017). His most recent operatic output includes CO2 (2015), commissioned by Teatro alla Scala; Lot (2017), commissioned by the Hannover Staatsoper; Wake (2018), commissioned by the Birmingham Opera Company; 7 minuti (2019), commissioned by the Opéra National de Lorraine; Julius Caesar (2021) commissioned by Teatro dell’Opera di Roma for the Season’s opening; Le baruffe (2022) commissioned by Teatro La Fenice; Il teorema di Pasolini (2023) commissioned by Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Battistelli’s symphonic output is also noteworthy. Among his most representative works, Meandri (2004), written for Riccardo Muti and Teatro alla Scala Philharmonic orchestra; Afterthought (about a Shakespearean tragedy) (2005), commissioned by the Santa Cecilia National Academy Orchestra, conducted by Antonio Pappano; Sconcerto (2010), a music theater piece with book by Franco Marcoaldi, which racked up over 40 performances on a tour featuring Italian actor Toni Servillo; H 375 (2010), commissioned by Staatsoper Hannover for the 375th anniversary of the founding of the Niedersächsischen Staatsorchester; Mystery Play (2012), commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; Pacha Mama (2012), commissioned by the KlangZeitFestival, Münster.

He was the composer-in-residence for the Antwerp Opera in 2005-2006 and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf for the two-year term 2007-2008. In 2006-07 he taught at Aldeburgh Music, the school founded by Benjamin Britten where he held a course in music theatre for the Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowships. Since 2004 he has been an Academician of Santa Cecilia, and in 2022 he as been awarded the Leone d’Oro alla carriera by the Music section of the Biennale di Venezia.

In 2003, Battistelli was awarded the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Culture Ministry. He has been named Commendatore dell’Ordine della Repubblica Italiana in 2013, and Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 2020.

He has been the artistic director of important musical institutions, such as the Music department of La Biennale di Venezia (2004-2007) and Arena di Verona Foundation (2006-2007). From 2020 to 2023, he has been the Artistic Director of the Festival Puccini at Torre del Lago. Currently, he is the artistic director of the Symphonic and Opera programming at the Fondazione Haydn Bolzano e Trento, and of the MITO SettembreMusica Festival.

His works are published by Casa Ricordi.