An Italian composer, performer, painter, writer, stage director born October 1, 1931 in Florence (Italy) who died September 19, 2021 in Milan (Italy).
Sylvano Bussotti began his apprenticeship of the violin at the age of five before entering the piano class of Luigi Dallapiccola at the Florence Conservatory where he also studied harmony and counterpoint. War, however, interrupted his studies though he subsequently studied composition as an autodidact. In 1956 he became a pupil of Max Deutsch in Paris and met Pierre Boulez, who introduced him to Darmstadt where became acquainted with John Cage.
Influenced by dodecaphony, he gained a closer knowledge of the music and philosophy of John Cage and composed in a free language, linked to chance and indetermination. Working at drawing and painting since early childhood, he adopted in his scores a graphic notation that turned his musical autographs into veritable works of art.
In 1965, at the festival of Palermo, the first performance of his opera Passion selon Sade was a scandal and gave him international recognition. He directed the work, took the role of reciter and also designed the costumes and stage production.
The stage indeed has a central position in Bussotti’s output, devoted as it is mainly to music theatre, opera and ballet music: Raramente, a choreographic mystery (1964-1970); Bergkristall, a ballet in one act (1973); Lorenzaccio, a romantic melodrama in dance (1968-1972); Phèdre, lyric tragedy (1980-1988); Sypario, ballet (1993); Ermafrodito: gran fantasia mitologica for guitar and voice (1999); Izumi Shibuki “Diario di tre stagioni” come Opera in un atto (2005-2006). He has also composed for solo instruments, chamber music, ensemble and orchestral works as well as many works for the voice.
Sylvano Bussotti explores dramatic tension and a poetic of the body; he developed sophisticated instrumental writing and used all the possibilities of the voice. The expressive vocality of his music has been enhanced by Cathy Berberian, one of his celebrated performers.
The artistic director of La Fenice of Venice (1975-1979), a teacher at the Fine Arts Academy of L’Aquila, he is also the founder of the institution Bussottioperaballet (the B.O.B.), which organises concerts, shows, exhibitions and international conferences.