Luciano Chessa

Luciano Chessa (b. 1971, Sassari, Italy) is a composer, performer, and musicologist.

As a composer, pianist, musical saw and Vietnamese dan bau soloist, and ensemble artist, Luciano Chessa has largely performed in the U.S. and in Europe. His first recording, "Humus" (1997) received outstanding reviews in all the major Italian musical magazines ("Fare Musica", "Rumore") and was voted by Rockerilla's critics as one of the 10 best Italian recordings of 1997. His piano and percussion duet after Pier Paolo Pasolini’s "Petrolio", written for Sarah Cahill (pianist) and Chris Froh, has been presented on October 2004 at the Villa Aurelia of the American Academy in Rome. His "Il pedone dell’aria", for orchestra and double children Choir, has been successfully premiered in April 2006 at the Auditorium Gianni Agnelli of Turin's Lingotto and soon to be released on DVD. Sarah Cahill's recent performance of his piano piece, "Le miniere", at San Francisco’s Old First Church was greeted by an enthusiastic review in the "San Francisco Classical Voice". His solo bassoon piece about Saint John the Evangelist ("Saint John at the Wake") and his brand new flute quintet ("Polinesiano"), are both to be released on two separate CDs: the former by LA’s Nine Winds Records and the latter by Rome’s RAI TRADE.

During the Fall 2006 there have been a series of new premieres: "Mielecuore", for solo soprano has been premiered in Rome, "Nouronihar" for solo organ in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and "Cinabro" for viola and piano in Genoa, Italy (also broadcasted by RTSI-Radio Svizzera, the Swiss National Broadcast Channel, on November 29). He is currently working on the music for "Return to Dak To", a documentary by Christopher Upham, and writing a new piece for string orchestra and baritone, which will be premiered in Turin, Italy in 2007.

Between April and May 2005 he appeared in solo concerts in Germany, Italy, as well as making his solo debut in New York City. In August 2005 he was one of the headliners of the 28th Musical Saw International Festival in Santa Cruz, CA, broadcasted by the English BBC. In 1999 he joined the UC Davis Gospel Choir of which from 2001 to 2004 has been its assistant conductor. With the UC Davis Gospel Choir he has performed in the Carnegie Hall, New York City, in Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall, UC Davis, and also in countless churches around California. Furthermore, he has become increasingly involved in poetry reading, mostly of Italian Futurist Sound Poetry. His reading of Francesco Cangiullo's Futurist “epic” poem "Piedigrotta" in San Francisco and the Bay Area has received critical acclaim; his reading of sonnets to accompany a performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by the Grammy Award Nominated New Century Chamber Orchestra in San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre was also granted with excellent reviews in the San Francisco press.

Mr. Chessa has produced concerts of contemporary music for almost ten years. He worked from 1996 to 1998 as concert producer for Bologna’s LINK PROJECT, an internationally-renowned multifunctional center for contemporary arts. For the LINK he created and directed his own series of concerts, Convergenze parallele. Since summer 1999 he is the Musical Program Coordinator for the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco, where he produces concerts of Italian contemporary and 20th-century music in partnership with the several Californian concert institutions and universities (RedCat, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, Mills College, LA’s Monday Evening series...)

As a musicologist, his areas of research competence include twentieth-century, experimental, and late fourteenth-century music (Ars Subtilior). His Ph.D. research, which he has presented internationally, has shown for the first time the occult relationship between Luigi Russolo’s intonarumori and Leonardo da Vinci’s musical machines. An article taken from his first dissertation Alle origini del canone enigmatico has been published in "Musica e Storia", the journal of the Levi Foundation, Venice. Among the forthcoming publications originating from his doctoral dissertation ("Luigi Russolo and the Occult"), it should be mentioned an article for the Max Seidel Festschrifts, published by Marsilio and an article for MIT Press' Leonardo Journal. An article on the Italian composer Carlo Prosperi is in press by Florence's Gabinetto Vieusseux Press. Mr.Chessa holds a D.M.A. in Piano performance and a M.A. in Composition from the G.B. Martini Conservatory of Music in Bologna, Italy, a M.A. magna cum laude in History of Medieval Music from the University of Bologna, and a Ph.D. in Musicology and Music Criticism from the University of California at Davis. He has taught at the Conservatory of Music in Bologna, at the University of California at Davis, at the University of California at Berkeley, at Columbia University in New York City, and has been interviewed at the CBS (KPIX/KBHK) television channel as an expert on Italian hip-hop. Chessa currently teaches History of Contemporary Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His music is published by the Italian National Broadcast Channel’s music publishing company, RAI TRADE, and distributed by The Theodore Presser Company.

Category: Music, Contemporary/Experimental Music, Californian Music.


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