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New work for electric guitar by Davide Ianni

A re-acquaintance with the iconic American instrument.

The Latest Update


Posted on September 2, 2014 by Maarten Stragier

I’m thrilled to share the work’s premiere as it was recorded on June 26 at Boston GuitarFest. 

As we explore further developing this project, Davide and I have discovered that the piece really benefits from muting the visual stimuli of the performance act, as its vehement gestures often run contrary to the delicate sounds produced. Therefore we have decided not to include the video here, and to experiment in the future with performances in near-darkness.

For those who missed the works premiere, there will be another performance at the New England Conservatory this winter, preceded by a presentation by Davide and myself on the creative process and the music that resulted. Dates soon to be announced.

Now there is still the issue of finding a name for this beast…

More Updates ▼


Posted on July 20, 2014 by Maarten Stragier

We are very grateful and excited to have received support from New Music USA for this wonderful project! 

By now Davide’s work has been premiered at Boston GuitarFest, and the audience’s reaction was overwhelmingly positive (video clips of the performance to come soon!).

Our collaboration continues, as Davide is already planning to polish and revise the composition further, and I myself will include the work in my solo performances for the upcoming season. 



In its relatively young lifespan, the electric guitar has become an icon of modern American culture. It has stood front and center in popular music, from rock and roll giants all the way up to today’s MTV clip reel. However, in the musical experiments that grew out of the classical tradition, the instrument has gotten comparatively little attention. For composer Davide Ianni, this lack of attention not only leaves a field bursting with potential for sonic discovery, he also sees in the iconic nature of the electric guitar an opportunity to invite in new listeners.

The result is not just a wholesale adoption of familiar sounds, but a dissection and re-contextualization of their components. Suddenly otherwise discarded aspects step into the limelight: from notes on the “wrong side” of the string; “unwanted” overtones, buzzes, crackles, and taps of the all-too fickle ebow; to manipulating strings with the (usually avoided) edges of a bottle neck slide, these items are expanded to refined virtuosity. Together, they determine a surprisingly comprehensible musical grammar, which Ianni exploits with captivating nuance. This is not a composition that is divorced from what the electric guitar is and has meant so far; this is a piece that, at its essence, offers a new way of hearing an iconic instrument of American culture.

In collaboration with Boston GuitarFest and the New England Conservatory, Ianni and guitarist Maarten Stragier have set up a series of events that will both enhance the awareness of the electric guitar in the classical music world, and of contemporary art music in the general public. First, Maarten will give the work’s premiere on June 26, 2014, at GuitarFest’s annual contemporary music concert. In line with the philosophy of the festival, it is attended by a wide variety of enthusiastic open-minded music lovers –a good number of whom are completely new to the music they came to see. Another performance will take place at the New England Conservatory in fall 2014. Accompanying this concert will be a lecture by performer and composer on the composition of the piece, and on approaching composition for the electric guitar in general. Furthermore, the piece will be included in Stragier’s solo projects for the 2014–2015 season, where it will be programmed alongside works by Murail, Blondeau, Leroux, and Maresz.

Project Media

Parte a Parte
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Parte a Parte is a duet for classical guitars. This is an example of Davide Ianni’s work to broaden the contemporary classical guitar repertoire. This work is the product of a research of selected sound possibilities of the instrument, produced through specific playing techniques such as strumming and string rubbing, and combined with a completely chordal texture. The composition is concerned with creating a sense of duality, born out of the reverberation of a singular sonic entity.

E se
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Features: Davide Ianni

E se, is scored for Bass flute, Bass Clarinet, Piano, Percussion Violin and Cello. It was premiered in 2013 by Sound Icon ensemble.

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Features: Davide Ianni

Testo is scored for Accordion and live electonics. It is included in the new CD release of accordionist Luca Piovesan, to whom the piece is dedicated.

Start and End Dates



Boston, Massachusetts

2 updates
Last update on September 2, 2014

Project Created By

Columbia, Missouri

In Collaboration With

concert organizer
Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts
New England Conservatory (host)
Boston, Massachusetts


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