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Luciano Chessa

As a composer, conductor, pianist, and musical saw/Vietnamese dan bau soloist, Luciano Chessa has been active in Europe, the U.S., Australia, and South America. Recent compositions include Set and Setting,  a San Francisco Contemporary Music Players commission premiered by Steven Schick and the SFCMPO in February 2014 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, LIGHTEST, a SFMOMA commission presented in November 2013 at the SF Columbarium, Squeeze! Squeeze! Squeeze!, a large-scale work written for the quartertone vibe/quartertone electric guitar duo The Living Earth Show, A Heavenly Act, an opera with original video by Kalup Linzy commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and premiered by Nicole Paiement and the Ensemble Parallèle. Chessa is the author of Luigi Russolo Futurist. Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult, the first monograph ever to be dedicated to the Futurist Russolo and his Art of Noise, out on University of California Press in 2012 to critical acclaim. Chessa’s Futurist expertise has resulted in an invitation by the New York-based Biennial of the Arts PERFORMA to direct the first reconstruction project of Russolo’s earliest intonarumori orchestra, and to curate concerts of music specifically commissioned for this project. This production was hailed by The New York Times as one of the best events in the arts of 2009 and is now touring internationally. In March 2011, the Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners was presented in a sold out concert by Berliner Festspiele-Maerzmusik Festival. In December 2011 Chessa conducted the project with the New World Symphony in their new Frank Gehry designed Concert Hall as part of a Performa-produced event to celebrate 10 years of Art Basel | Miami Beach; the performance included the world premiere of Lee Ranaldo’s It All Begins Now (Whose Streets? Our Streets!). In May 2013 he presented at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires a series of events to celebrate the Centennial of Russolo’s Art of Noises. A double LP dedicated to the Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners and documenting the first phase of this project has been released on the Belgian label Sub Rosa in November 2013. In December 2013 Chessa conducted the Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners to a sold-out at the RedCat in Los Angeles. Additionally, Luciano Chessa has been performing futurist sound poetry for well over 10 years. His reading of Italian poetry to accompany a performance of the Grammy Award Nominated New Century Camber Orchestra in San Francisco’s Herbst Theater in 2000 was granted with enthusiastic reviews in the San Francisco press, and in 2001 he has given the modern premiere of Francesco Cangiullo’s explosive Futurist sound poems Piedigrotta and Serata in onore di Yvonne, subsequently presenting them in several countries all over the world. In the Summer 2014 Chessa will read Futurist Sound Poetry in the Guggenheim Museum in New York, as part of the retrospective exhibit on Italian Futurism; his voice reading Marinietti’s Manifesto and Poetry to accompany Jen Sachs’ videos is to be experienced by all exhibit visitors, from February to September 2014.   Luciano 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. Chessa taught, lectured and talked at various institutions including St. John’s College of Oxford, UK, Columbia University, Harvard University, Sydney’s and Melbourne’s Conservatories and Universities, the Conservatory of Music in Bologna, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and EMPAC in the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has been interviewed by the CBS (KPIX/KBHK) television channel as an expert on Italian 1990s hip-hop, and by the BBC as Luigi Russolo’s foremost scholar. His work has been recently featured in Artforum, Art in America, in the Italian issue of Marie Claire and in the September 2010 Issue of Vogue Italia, and he has appeared in Peter Esmonde’s documentary on Ellen Fullman, 5 Variations on a Long String (2010). Luciano Chessa teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, serves in the Advisory Board of TACET, the international research publication dedicated to Experimental Music from the Université Paris 1 – Panthéon-Sorbonne, is a member of the Steering Committee of the SF Electronic Music Festival, and collaborates with SF’s Italian Cultural Institute. His music is published by Edizioni Carrara and by RAI TRADE, the Italian National Broadcast Channels’ music publishing company.

Variazioni su un oggetto di scena ( 2002/05/07), for piano and stuffed toys.

Var. XXII (Valsugana)
Var. XI (Maridemi mi)
Var. I (Reposare)
Originally titled Variations on a Prop (from Jorge Boehringer’s “The Future of American Transportation”), and premiered at Gregory Moore’s Maybeck Studio in Berkeley, CA, Variazioni su un oggetto di scena appears as a set of three noncontiguous variations presented in reversed order, and without their theme.
Recorded Live by Terry Berlier at San Francisco’s Old First Concerts on November 18, 2007

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Luciano Chessa: Louganis (2007)-Excerpt I

The opening of Luciano Chessa’s Louganis for Piano and TV/VCR combo: Video by Terry Berlier.
Piano: Luciano Chessa
Recorded Live by Mary Schroeder at San Francisco’s Old First Concerts on November 18, 2007

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Carpe (Carp Fish, 1993/2013) For amplified voice, string trio, piano, and percussion

[…] the vocal line should be the only amplified part—Berio does this very successfully with Ute Lemperer’s voice in his transcription of Three songs from Kurt Weill. This way, you can obtain a displacement of the voice which is not possible when all the parts are amplified. Like oil in water, the voice should never blend with the instrumental texture. Furthermore, the isolation of the voice is “performed” by the singer by way of staging his outsider-ness, his lack of belonging to the stage.

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