Born in Venice in 1975, Mauro Lanza studied music at the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory and Ca’ Foscari University. The piano, musicology, harmony and counterpoint and composition form the essential part of his apprenticeship. Receiving a diploma from the conservatory in 1997, he attended, in the course of his training, various composition courses, working successively with Brian Ferneyhough (Asolo, 1992), Salvatore Sciarrino (Città di Castello, 1995 and 1996), Gérard Grisey (Reggio Emilia, 1996) and Alessandro Solbiati (Civica Scuola di Musica di Milano, 1998). Bolstered with his success in the composition competitions Premio Valentino Bucchi (Roma, 1996) and Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa (Potenza, 1998), at which he twice obtained first prize, he turned towards France after having been chosen by the reading panel of the Ensemble intercontemporain and Ircam, in order to follow a composition and computer music course (1998-1999).
As a creator of sounds, Mauro Lanza has shown an interest in new sonorities. Taking advantage of his experience at Ircam, where he was involved in ongoing research, the composer took fully into account the possibilities offered by IT and more especially interested himself in synthesis through physical models. With the help of the Modalys software, he worked on giving sound to virtual objects for which he established the sound spectrum in order to attempt, subsequently, to produce a translation of it in the score. Aschenblume is an example of this, a work for eight instruments written as a homage to Gérard Grisey, built up around an acoustic model that is based on two circular metal plates.
Just as he likes to work on virtual objects, so Lanza is also keen, when conceiving his works, to start with objects that have restricted possibilities. This is why it is not uncommon to see traditional instruments supported by others that are as surprising as they are unexpected: a Bontempi trumpet, a plastic guitar, a vibraphone with six blades and a cooing doll form part of the forces required for Barrocco, composed in 1998. The underlying idea is not to think in terms of notes, pitch or duration. For, as the composer points out, with such instruments, the dissociation of the parameters is no longer possible.
An artiste in residence at Fresnoy and guest composition teacher at McGill University in 2004-2005, Mauro Lanza at the same time began to teach computer assisted composition at the Cuneo Conservatory (Italy). The period that then opened was extremely rich, both for pedagogy and residences (Civitella Ranieri Foundation in June and July 2006, Académie de France in Rome between April 2007 and October 2008, Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2009-2010). It was also a period that favoured the production of ambitious spectacles calling on other forms of expression – like Cominciamento del Diluvio and Descrizione del diluvio, realised in partnership with the video artist Paolo Pachini – and comprising notable forms of evolution with regard to style: the compositions of Mauro Lanza, such as Songe de Médée, commissioned by the Paris Opera and intended to accompany the choreography of Angelin Preljocaj, show an increasingly subtle overlapping of acoustics and electronics.