Matteo D'Amico was born in Rome (June 27, 1955). He began studying composition under Barbara Giuranna and later enrolled in the Accademia Santa Cecilia. There he continued his studies under Luigi Andrea Gigante, Guido Turchi and Irma Ravinale, taking a diploma in composition and choral music.
From 1981 to 1983 he studied under Franco Donatoni in Siena and Rome, obtaining a diploma with honours at the Accademia Chigiana and an advanced diploma at the Accademia Santa Cecilia. In 1985 he won first prize in the Martin Codax (Vigo, Spain), Valentino Bucchi (Rome) and MC2-Radio France (Avignon) international music competitions. Subsequently many of his chamber music and symphonic works were performed in Italy and abroad, in particular by the orchestras of the Italian (Rome, Turin and Naples), Dutch (the Radio Chamber Orchestra and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra) and French (the Nouvelle Orchestre Philarmonique) national broadcasting commissions and in the context of numerous contemporary music concert series, including Opera prima ('82), Festival Internazionale Pontino ('83 and '86), International Gaudeamus Musikweek ('84 and '86), Nuova Consonanza ('84 and '87), Musica nel nostro tempo ('89), MIDEM ('89), Romaeuropa ('86 and '92) and the Festival Internazionale di Alicante ('86).
From 1988 on, with L'Azur
(first prize in the 1989 Music Today Contest in Tokyo and later performed to enthusiastic audiences in Rome, Turin, Prague and Athens) D’Amico has undertaken a cycle of works based on the texts of Stéphane Mallarmé, including the Sonnets et rondels
. It is in this period that he began his search for a distinctive vocality far removed from any stereotype.
Just as important is his relationship with the poetry of W. H. Auden, which gave rise to The Entertainment of the senses
for female voice and instruments, the world premiere of which was interpreted by Luisa Castellani and the Quintetto Bibbiena in the 2006 concert season at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia. The composer also produced a version for radio, entitled Auden Cabaret
, which received a special mention at the 2006 Prix Italia.
Since 1990 the composer’s attention has turned to the relations between music, poetry, theatre and dance. His debut in the opera field came with Gli spiriti dell'aria
, a fantasy operetta in one act with prologue. This was followed by the scenic cantata Angelus novus
(1992) and the “myth in musical form” La torcia e il melograno
(1994). After that he composed 3 one-act operas: Farinelli, la voce perduta, Amin
(both in 1996) and Il cambio
(1998). His most recent opera works include Patto di sangue
(2008) and Le Malentendu
, from Albert Camus’s tragedy.
In the field of dance he has written the ballets Mascherata veneziana
, in homage to Goldoni and Galuppi (1993), La Ronde
drawn from Schnitzler (1995), Le Baccanti
(1997) and Animae corpus
D’Amico has also dedicated a good deal of attention to sacred music composing two motets for soprano and strings Jubilate Deo
(1997) and Attende Domine
for solo instruments and orchestra, which forms an integral part of Requiem per le vittime della mafia
(a joint work realised in 1993 together with six other Italian composers), a Stabat Mater
(1999) and the cantata La morte secunda
, on a fragment from St. Francis of Assisi’s Cantico delle Creature
for tenor, mezzosoprano and instrumental group.
In the area of symphonic music well worthy of note are Rime d'amore,
on poetry by T. Tasso (1998), Verdi versus Wagner
(2001) and Le creature di Ade
D’Amico is professor of composition at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. He is a member of the Accademia Filarmonica Romana (between 1987 and 2000 he acted as artistic director). From 2000 to 2002 he was the artistic director of the Teatro Comunale in Bologna. Since 2006 he has been a member of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.