Composer and UB alumnus Paolo Cavallone has recently returned to Buffalo after lecturing in New Zealand and Canada, and having had works premiered and toured in Italy, Portugal, and Brazil. We met with Paolo and asked him to fill us in on his recent activities abroad since graduating with a PhD in music composition in 2009.
photo by Luca Del Monaco
“I just returned to Buffalo last Friday from Florence, Italy, where I had been invited by renown Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli to participate in ‘Festival Play It!’ a three day-long festival dedicated to contemporary Italian music, which, this year, celebrated the 80th birthday of great Italian composer and artist Sylvano Bussotti. It was a privilege to be a part of this fantastic showcase of Italian music played by some of Italy’s greatest musicians and broadcast live by Italy’s public radio station, Radio RAI. My symphony, Porte, was premiered there by Orchestra Toscana under the baton of Tonino Battista, and received an enthusiastic response by the audience (see the complete program here). It was a very special event, as painters, poets, and artists from all over the country would open the day’s activities with presentations and lectures about their art. Florence has a rich environment full of history and beautiful architecture, and was a magical place to be.
“It has been a very productive time for me in many ways since graduating from the University at Buffalo. Recently I gave visiting lectures as a composer at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy. Moreover, after a year at UB as a piano accompanist and research collaborator for the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music, I spent the fall of 2010 in New Zealand as a visiting professor teaching composition and orchestration at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington at Victoria University. I am excited to be returning there next year for the premiere of my flute concerto, commissioned by the Siemens Foundation, for the Stroma New Music Ensemble conducted by Hamish McKeich, and featuring flute legend Roberto Fabbriciani, whom I originally met when he visited the University at Buffalo to give a lecture and concert. Many of the performers I’ve developed successful working relationships with I met through the music department here at UB.
“I am very glad to announce the upcoming release of my new monographic CD, Confini, on the Tactus label. The CD is the fruit of the collaboration between my publisher, RAI Trade, and the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music, and includes a bonus DVD and video documentary, Paolo Cavallone: Potrait of a Composer, which shows footage of UB and interviews with conductor Harvey Sollberger, saxophonist Gaetano Di Bacco, violist Luca Sanzò, and David Felder, among others. The CD itself features many UB musicians such as Tony Arnold, Jean Kopperud, Jonathan Golove, Catarina Domenici, Sabatino Scirri, Christian Baldini, Nicholas Isherwood, and Movses Pogossian. The first track on the CD, (Dis)tensioni, for clarinet and piano, was a commission by Jean Kopperud and Stephen Gosling for the ‘Rated X Project’ which I composed during my time in the PhD program at UB and having composition lessons with David Felder. Both Jean and Steve gave a remarkable interpretation of the piece, performing complex, virtuosic passages, extended techniques, and gestures that perhaps only they are able to play, such as pitches outside of the normal range of the clarinet, which Jean was able to execute with extreme facility. The CD will be released by the end of November and be available on the internet and at most major CD retailers (more information about the CD can be found at Paolo’s website, and will soon be available at Tactus Records).
"My perspective as an artist is based on framing a unique musical gesture/object from different angles, so after completing my studies at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, I was eager to expand my artistic vision in an international environment, and experience a different side of Western culture in America. At the University at Buffalo I met a faculty full of first-rate scholars and musicians. First and foremost was my composition teacher, David Felder, who has a rare sense of musical form, and is able, as a teacher, to integrate the students’ perspective without imposing a pre-formed musical aesthetic or compositional school onto the student. I learned from other professors at UB as well – I still remember the high quality of Michael Long’s class on Medieval and Renaissance notation, and Jeffrey Stadelman’s class on contemporary music. I am happy to be back in Buffalo for a while, where I can enjoy and participate in the musical activities at UB and the Center for 21st Century Music."