Tuesday, 10 January 2012

stefano scodanibbio @ london_resonance

words _ gian paolo galasi

Stefano Scodanibbio with Terry Riley - photo: Claudio Casanova
"Stefano Scodanibbio, a young but yet famous bass player with truly extraordinary qualities". This is what an Italian newspaper, "L'Unità", wrote on 1987 after a marathon of four hours, in which Scodanibbio played 28 pieces by 25 different composers.

Born in Macerata in 1956, he became famous in the 1980s since his repertoire on contrabass was made by compositions especially written for him by the likes of Iannis Xenakis, Vinko Globokar, Salvatore Sciarrino, before he became a long time collaborator of Luigi Nono and Giacinto Scelsi.

Not only a virtuoso, Scodanibbio was a true innovator on the instrument; he started studying contrabass with Fernando Grillo and composition with Fausto Rizzi and Salvatore Sciarrino. In 1983 he founded the review "Rassegna di Nuova Musica di Macerata", in order to promote and share the new tendencies of American and European contemporary music. At the same time he worked also on his compositions, like Six Studies for solo contrabass, Six Duos for all the possible combinations of the four bowed instruments, Concerto for contrabass, bows and percussions, while in 2004 he played for the first time his version of the XIV Sequenza by Luciano Berio, originally for cello.

Stefano Scodanibbio - Photo: Mauro Rocchi
In 1996 he started teaching regularly the bass at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, while dedicating his time to a regular trio involving trumpeter Markus Stockhausen - son of the composer Karlheinz - and cellist Rohan De Saram. Between his many collaborations, the most important were the ones with the composer Terry Riley, coreographers and dancers like Virgilio Sieni, Patricia Kuypers and Hervé Diasnas, the poets Edoardo Sanguineti and Gian Ruggero Manzoni, and Giorgio Agamben, a philosopher disciple of Martin Heidegger and Michel Foucault , that wrote the dramaturgy for Scodanibbio's musical theatre Il Cielo sulla Terra.

Between the many records disposables under his own name, one that can attract the curiosity of the hard-ons of improvised music is the 2010 release by the Italian label Die Schachtel "On Debussy's piano and ..." in which Scodanibbio and pianist Thollem McDonas improvised on schemes provided for the occasion by McDonas and recorded in Brive-La-Gaillard using a piano belonged to Claude Debussy, whose impressionistic music had an important and still mostly unrecognized influence on the improvised music coming from both the US and Europe.

Stefano Scodanibbio sadly disappeared today after a long and difficult desease in Cuernavaca, Mexico. His ashes will be spread on the gardens of Mexican residing composers Ana Lara - that also wrote an article after his death on the newspaper "La Jornada" - and Julio Estrada. But for all the true music lovers, this can be an occasion to fully immerse into CDs issued by the likes of Wergo, Mode, col legno, New Albion, Stradivarius, Dischi di Angelica, Ricordi.

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