An American and Italian composer born March 17, 1980.
A trumpet player and pianist, Christopher Trapani studied poetry and composition at Harvard University and took advanced studies at the Royal College of Music in London, where he obtained a master’s degree under the direction of Julian Anderson. In 2003 he settled in Paris, training with Philippe Leroux, and after studying microtonality in classical Ottoman music in Istanbul (2007), he followed the classes in computer music at Ircam (2008-2010). Now living in Paris and New York, he is studying for a doctorate at Columbia University, where he is working notably with Tristan Murail, Georg Friedrich Haas, George Lewis and Fred Lerdahl. In 2019 he was a laureate of the Guggenheim Foundation.
Trapani treats composition as poetic work, with a certain stylistic diversity imposed by the desire to build each work as a world in itself. A veritable man of letters, he takes inspiration from writers of the second half of the 20th century, such as Thomas Pynchon and Italo Calvino. He also makes frequent references to light and colour, and imbues his works with the atmosphere and ambiance of the places where he has lived.
His music synthesises several influences, such as jazz, the blues, country, the Turkish modal tradition as well as those of the Middle East and of India, though also spectral music. He uses technology and computing in order to find the exact tool that corresponds to the musical idea of each piece. Trapani seeks above all to explore consonance, to redefine it, notably with microtonality.
Performed in Europe and the USA, his works are written for all kinds of formations, and include: Cognitive consonance for solo qanûn, solo hexaphonic electric guitar, ensemble and electronics, first performed by Julien Jalal Eddine Weiss, Christelle Séry and L'Itinéraire conducted by Mark Foster at the festival Agora in the Centquatre in Paris (2010); Waterlines for mezzo-soprano, guitar, instrumental ensemble and electronics, first performed by Daisy Press and the Talea Ensemble in New York, Mannes College of Music (2012); Spinning in infinity for orchestra and electronics, first performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Diego Matheuz at the festival Présences (2015); PolychROME for instrumental ensemble, co-commissioned by the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik and L’Itinéraire, first performed in New York by L’Itinéraire and the International Contemporary Ensemble conducted by Jean-Michaël Lavoie (2017); Creux for instrumental ensemble and live electronics, co-commissioned by the GMEM and the Ensemble C Barré, first performed by the Ensemble C Barré and the International Contemporary Ensemble conducted by Sébastien Boin at the festival Les Musiques à Marseille (2018). His monographic CD Waterlines was released in 2018 by New Focus Recordings.
Since autumn 2019 he has been teaching at the University of Texas in Austin, where he is also director of the electroacoustic music studios.