Adriano Guarnieri was born in Sustinente in the province of Mantova in 1947 (September 10).
He completed his studies in music at the Conservatorium in Bologna, taking a diploma in choir music (under the guidance of Tito Gotti) and in composition (under Giacomo Manzoni). He began his musical career working both as a conductor and a composer, founding the Nuovo Ensemble Bruno Maderna in Florence in 1975.
Starting out with a stylistic approach close to Structuralism (Musica per un'azione immaginaria
and L'art pour l'art
both written in 1976), Guarnieri subsequently developed an extremely original language which critics defined as “cantabilità metrica”, a cantabilità that eschewed reusing traditional themes or melodies in that it invariably came into being “within the galaxy of sound”, from inside the sonoric material. And this is how one has to read the composer’s scores as well, filled as they are with a myriad of dynamic and agogic markings that conjointly determine form and sound.
Towards the end of the 80s Guarnieri became passionately interested in the poetry of Pier Paolo Pasolini, working through an intense relationship that culminated in the lyric action Trionfo della notte
. This work, which was staged at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna in 1987, was awarded the Italian critics’ Premio Abbiati for the year’s best composition. Also tied to the poetry of Pasolini was Romanza alla notte N. 2
(1988) concerto for violin and orchestra, performed in Parma, Milan and Vienna to universal acclaim. Another work dedicated to Pasolini is Il glicine
(1993) for soprano, reciting voice and amplified flute and violin. In 1993 a further honour was accorded to the composer by the city of Montepulciano, the city’s festival commissioning from him the lyric action Orfeo...cantando tolse
, ten lyric actions on a text freely drawn from Angelo Poliziano’s "Orfeo" (1994). In 1995 Guarnieri began to collaborate with the poet Giovanni Raboni. Out of this partnership came a number of works including Quare tristis
(Venice Biennale, 1995), Pensieri canuti
(Salzburg Festival, 1999) and the Passione secondo Matteo.
In this latter work, commissioned by the Teatro alla Scala for the Great Jubilee in 2000, Raboni’s text intertwines with the poetry of Pasolini and the Gospel According to Mark
. Performed in Saint Mark’s Church, it had an extraordinarily moving effect on the public.
Guarnieri’s music entrusts a central role to the use of live electronics, a masterly instrument for the elaboration and placement of sound in space, both components of vital interest to the composer. Flanked by the sound director Alvise Vidolin, Guarnieri has composed a number of fully-fledged scores for electronics amongst which the opera-video Medea
, which, produced in October 2002 with stage direction by Giorgio Barberio Corsetti, earned the composer his second Premio Abbiati, and Solo di donna, a lyric action in one act for voice, flute, harp and live electronics, premiered on 8th March 2004 at the Teatro Le Muse in Ancona.